Saturday, May 26, 2018

Are You Trying to Get New Results With Old Thinking?

Writer's Note: Though this was originally published on LinkedIn at the beginning of a new year - the insights are timeless.

It's a new year! For many business owners, it's a chance to start fresh, take it to the next level -- kick it into high gear... or whatever other saying suits you to express your desire to make this year better than last.

If any of those are on your agenda, here's an important insight -- if you have a desire to get new results, but in doing so are planning from old thinking, you're in trouble. New results require new thinking. #justsayin

Nurturing fresh thinking is an essential practice for leaders to get new results, which I share about in my latest blog post - What's Your #1 Leadership Asset? (see link below).

Let's get off the "insane train" -- with my updated definition = "thinking the old things over and over, but expecting new and different results".

Why It Matters 
Let's start with an eye-opening leadership truth. "Who you are is how your business, department, or team will go." How you think is how it will go as well. And, here's the kicker -- it's your thinking and feelings (yes feelings) that shapes your decisions and judgment. Your decisions are choices.

Choices, decisions, judgments generate results. 

If you want different results this year, you'll have to begin with different thinking. Choices, decisions, judgments generate results. They can carry profound consequences.

I truly don't think decision-making is taken seriously enough in today's leadership culture. In my latest release Show Me The Money! I talk about the tremendous financial impact decisions have.

And so, here's a coaching tip=> this year keep a decision tracking sheet or journal. Document the decisions you make, why you're making them and the influencers, (e.g. people, emotions, environmental conditions). This is a powerful activity that can foster needed personal awareness and substantially impact your leadership effectiveness in 2017.

A Prevalent Dilemma 
Here's an honest discovery I've made in coaching leaders -- there is a bit of a dilemma regarding this topic. Many leaders are not interested in changing their thinking. They think what they think is the right way to think because -- heck-- they're the leaders -- that's how they got to be leaders. If fact some leaders want to tell you what to think, instead of helping their teams learn how to think.

When's the last time you sat in a meeting and the leader said, "We need and I invite fresh thinking. We need new perspectives, a different way of coming at our challenges or ways to serve our customers. You have free reign to contribute." Unless you're in a creative environment, that's not particularly common.

So this post is a reality check of sorts for all leaders. Nothing will change unless you change and or encourage and allow change - call it a twist on change management.

And here's a bonus warning -- there is a subtle deception in thinking. The act of thinking feels as if you're doing something -- taking action on a problem, making progress towards a solution. When in fact, it could be that you're merely rearranging old thinking. As Albert Einstein once said, " You cannot solve a problem at that the same level of thinking at which you arrive at it." This happens every day in corporate leadership.

So I'm putting on my coaching hat as I say...start your journal, practice asking what other's think, listen and integrate into your weekly ritual ways to refresh your thinking. Make a commitment this year to facilitate a company, department or team culture that encourages great, bold, ambitious, creative thinking!

If you don't know how, I can help. We offer 1/1 creative brainstorming sessions and the experience of creative/critical thinking for teams - it will dramatically improve constructive collaboration and the ability to successfully manage conflict. Yep that's right -- knowing how to think creatively actually helps to manage conflict. | Em: joann@jcsbusinessadvisors.com

Read more about refreshing and expanding your thinking with these complimentary topics: The Dilemma of Creative Thinking in the Workplace | 11 Reasons Why Every Company Should Have a Creative Thinking Workshop...at least once a year. |  Read: What's Your #1 Leadership Asset?

Check our book: Brain on Fire: Unleashing Your Creative Superpowers - it's a complementary book to our workshop Creative & Critical Thinking the Next New Skill.