It’s a new year, and for many it means taking a shot at developing better habits for health, finances, career, and the list goes on. Most of those resolutions have already been broken by this time in January, so before it’s too late, we’re sharing our top three strategies to intentionally be better and do better this year. Each of these might mean that you have to get out of your comfort zone, which is often where personal growth happens.
In a recent Forbes article, the author of Stop Playing Safe, Margie Warrell, challenges leaders by saying, “In ten years, the people who have achieved extraordinary success won’t be those who staying inside their comfort zone. They will be the people who continued to stretch themselves, even when things are going smoothly, and who are willing to risk failure or looking foolish, knowing that the biggest risk they take is not taking any risks at all. The question is – will you be one of them?!”
What can you do at the beginning of this new decade to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead? We suggest these three strategies:
- Have Smart Fights
We all want to work on a team where people are polite, considerate, and kind. But it’s possible to be too nice, failing to disagree when we need to or surface new ideas or innovations. In fact, in some companies, “I don’t agree” is the same as saying “You’re an idiot.” You can’t have a high-performing, inclusive team without some healthy fights and some degree of competition.
Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review editor, author and expert in conflict, communication, and workplace dynamics combines the latest management research with practical advice to deliver evidence-based ideas on how to improve relationships and excel at work. She will be featured at the Leadership Louisville Center’s March 4th Best of Leadership Summit. In her interactive keynote session, she will teach you how teams can smartly tackle uncomfortable conversations and disagreements and how, as managers, you can make it OK for people to dissent, debate, and express their true opinions.
- Work Upstream
So often in our organizations we fall into a cycle of reaction. A problem happens, and we respond. We fight fires. We contend with emergencies. Researchers call this "tunneling": We don't see the big picture, and we don't think about the future, we just keep pushing forward from one crisis to the next. What if instead we could shift our energies upstream -- uncovering and addressing the source of those problems?
Best-selling author and business thought leader Dan Heath reveals how some leaders have learned to spot problems in advance in his newest book, UPSTREAM: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. He uncovers the impact when we shift from downstream response to upstream planning, it can cause miracles: One company eliminated 25 million customer support calls by asking, "How can we make sure our customers never need to call us?" And one nation in Europe has almost eliminated teenage substance abuse by asking, "How can we create a teenage culture that offers such compelling sober activities that teens simply don't feel like drinking or doing drugs?"
Also featured at the Best of Leadership Summit, Heath will share the three forces that push us downstream, as well as the powerful levers we can use to start preventing problems before they happen.
- Break the Rules
What makes the world’s most creative people—and companies—tick? When the robots come to take our jobs, what skills will matter most? Machines are capable of outmaneuvering humans at almost anything; they can even teach themselves to play strategy games like chess and Go. But, to paraphrase super-agent Ari Emanuel: “Find me the machine that can think like Larry David.” The future, increasingly, belongs to creative thinkers whose brains don’t follow a traditional set of rules.
As editor-in-chief of Fast Company—the influential magazine championing creativity, innovation, and thriving workplace cultures for a new generation of business— Stephanie Mehta is the rare editor who talks to pure creatives and corporate leaders in equal measure. Whether she’s investigating the prodigious rise of Silicon Valley, the domino effect of technology on our lives, or what makes a workplace truly innovative, Mehta has her finger on the pulse.
Stephanie Mehta will be featured at the Best of Leadership Summit to explain how to bring a creative, rule-breaking mindset to any aspect of business, from engineering to marketing to forecasting and planning.
So, what have you done lately to step out of your comfort zone? Join us on March 4th for a day of disruptive thinking to prepare yourself and your team for a performance boost in 2020!
Learn more about: March 4th Best of Leadership Summit
About the Leadership Louisville Center:
The Leadership Louisville Center is the region’s most valuable resource for leadership development and civic engagement. With a purpose to inspire and equip leaders to be better and do better, it has graduated over 10,000 through its civic programs since 1979. The Center is recognized as a national best practice and is known for its dynamic programming and strong community connections. Programming includes five social impact leadership programs (Leadership Louisville, Focus Louisville, Ignite Louisville, Bingham Fellows and Encore Louisville), leadership skills training courses presented through the Leadership Green Room, and events designed to connect leaders and motivate positive change. Learn more at www.leadershiplouisville.org.