In Change, Leaders

“Diversity is a competitive advantage.  Different people approach similar problems in different ways.” – Rich McGinn

One of the realities of being a leader is that at times it can feel pretty lonely.  The world is full of leaders who have the sense that they’re pretty much on their own, working without a net.  And a lot of them really are.

That’s true regardless of the size of an organization, but it’s especially true in smaller organizations.  Quite often in a small business the leader really is the only person rowing the leadership boat.  Most of the ideas come from the leader, most of the vision & strategy come from the leader, most of the drive for change comes from the leader.  In a lot of organizations, there really isn’t anybody else.

Even in somewhat larger organizations, ones that maybe have a group of people in leadership roles, it can still be a very limited number of people responsible for “the big stuff.”  But that doesn’t mean that leaders need to accept that loneliness.

What do you do in your organization to make sure you have a wide array of ideas?  Where do you go to get diverse kinds of input?  Are you doing everything you can to make sure you have variety internally?  If that isn’t possible, are you seeking out ideas externally?

The reality is that more ideas and more creativity and more perspectives generally lead to better decision making.  Yes, there can be paralysis by analysis, and we can be overwhelmed by “too many” ideas.  And yes, in the end we have to be able to implement whatever fantastic ideas we may come up with.

But all of that aside, the organizations we work with that succeed at the highest level seek out new ideas & perspectives and aren’t afraid of new ways of thinking.  If they don’t feel like they’re getting enough of it internally, or if they’re afraid they’re creating their own echo chamber, then they go looking for it externally.  They find peers in different industries, read whatever they can get their hands on, seek out learning wherever they can find it.  They want their ideas to be challenged, and they want to be challenged by new ideas.

Does that sound like your business?  Does that sound like you personally?  Are you looking for diverse ways of thinking?  Are you looking to be challenged?  Or are you comfortable in the same old ideas and decision-making you’ve been living with for years?  One of those paths leads to success.  You choose.

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