“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
– Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Approximately 30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil force. Millions of movie goers around the world are flocking to witness how the Jedi Knights will overcome the challenge! As leaders, we also face new challenges and begin to anticipate how to overcome these “forces” in the New Year.
Do Smart Leaders Continue to Learn?
One challenge that many leaders ignore or overlook in themselves is an insidious aversion to learning something new or changing their minds. It is not a conscious choice to avoid learning, but an invisible barrier to keeping an open mind to new possibilities. Ironically, the smarter leaders are, the more susceptible they may be to holding onto what they believe and/or already “know.” Consider if you:
- When listening to a news story, change the channel or stop listening when a contrary point of view is presented?
- Purchase books that reinforce your own perspective rather than opening your mind to new ways of seeing the world?
- Seek out information from those individuals who agree rather than disagree with you?
- When facing a new situation, fall back on what has worked for you in the past without considering what is different now?
- Avoid opportunities to question your foundation assumptions and beliefs (think religion and politics)?
What’s a Leader to Do and How Can They Help Others?
It is especially difficult for many leaders to question and/or change their beliefs when they view themselves as “the expert.” And, since many senior leaders have “evil forces” working against their learning something new, we need to consider how to stimulate new learning, promote creativity in the workplace and build learning cultures. How do we stay open to new ideas and possibilities for future success? Build in ways to question status quo thinking…
- Attend a futurist lecture with your team.
- Watch movie clips as a team to see the world anew (Independence Day, The Martian, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Matrix, ET, Avatar, Close Encounters, The Day After Tomorrow, What Dreams May Come, Awakenings). Put yourself in uncomfortable, yet safe, situations and environments.
- Look for and study the habits of “deviant” leaders who can serve as positive role models of reinventing themselves.
- Be an undercover boss for day.
- Ask what a current situation might look like if it were 30 years into the future.
Challenge your team to bring in divergent points of view during brainstorming sessions. How would Robin Williams see this? What might Eleanor Roosevelt have to say about this? How might a five-year old respond to this?
As you consider what you want to do differently as a leader in 2016, put AWAKEN LEARNING at the top of your list. Use a lesson from Star Wars. Join together with other learners, just as the young duo joined forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights, to achieve success.
Innolect is ready to join with you in 2016 to grow leaders and build creative, high integrity workplaces to better our world and to open our mind to new possibilities.
Happy New Year…