If a toxic culture is death to innovation and growth, a complacent one could be likened to a slow atrophy into oblivion. Staying safely in the warm surrounds of our comfort zone, the pull to do things the same way, think the same way and believe the same things is a strong anchor to complacency.
Leadership by definition should be about movement – creating and maintaining shift in the organisation with your people so there is always growth and adaptability. But we can get stuck ourselves, leading the same way, thinking the same things and doing more than our fair share of complacent activity. This makes it so much harder to disrupt the malaise that may have descended or be entrenched.
We need to upset the status quo and put ripples in the pond. The outcome of not doing this is an organisation that can no longer adapt to quicker, smarter or new ways of doing things that get better outcomes. There is no growth or learning, real reflection or adapting to the changing context of our environment.
The first steps to creating those ripples is to get connected with what is going on in the outside world. Create an environment for ourselves where we can see what is happening in the world and how it applies to our context. This starts to shine a mirror on our own complacency and our own habitual comfort zone. We need to get our brains BUZZING with new ideas and LEARNING new ways of thinking about what we do.
Here are some ideas for pushing your own comfort zone:
SIT WITH DISCOMFORT – this reflects that some perturbation and learning is going on – listen to it; sit with it and don’t dismiss it (or avoid it).
SEEK OUT THE THOUGHT LEADERS – spend time watching and listening to great thinkers. Watch TED Talks, read books by Thought Leaders in your field and others, as well as those who speak on more global issues such as leadership or thinking. Spend time reflecting on what you agree with and disagree with. What do you THINK about them? Watch relevant and challenging ones with your staff and have a great robust discussion.
FOLLOW PEOPLE WHO ARE CURATORS – Twitter; Linkedin and curating sites such as Scoopit and Bundlr are great ways to get access to some amazing thinkers around the globe. There is so much information out there. Follow people who are already funnelling the good stuff to get you started. These people are already doing a heap of the work for you – they are ‘plugged in’ to great ideas and conceptual thinking out there and curate them on their own sites for easy access by people like you and me. Discerning curators can save you a huge amount of time trying to find good content to read. Join Linkedin and connect to people. Join business discussion groups on Linkedin to get access to global and local groups of professionals in your field to have conversations with and learn from.
INCREASE YOUR CURIOSITY – ask questions of yourself and others to really test your beliefs and ‘the way you’ve always done it’. ‘What’s the purpose of doing it that way?’ ‘Am I getting the results I want?’ ‘Why do I believe that?’ ‘Is there another way we could do this?’
REFLECT – spend some sacred time in your diary on what is working in your organisation and what is not – and get serious about shifting what needs to be moved – firstly by you.
DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY– get agile. Think about all the habitual things you do in a day. Shake some of them up. The more we stay the same, the more our brains stay stuck. If we want brain agility we need to keep on our toes. Have new experiences; spend time with people you don’t normally hang out with. Ask more questions, do different stuff that gets your juices flowing!
HAVE MORE FUN! Fun gets the oxytocin going in our brains which we need to really access our brain’s potential –as well as its just plain simply enjoyable – and who couldn’t do with more joy in their lives!