More than ever before, the ability to think critically and adapt to change is an essential skill for everyone, particularly those in leadership positions. Last week we explored some of the concepts uncovered by Adam Gant in his book, “Think Again“. By having more self-awareness and insight into your natural way of processing the world around you, you can strive to embrace a mindset of continuous learning, staying curious about the world and not being so set in your ways, but rather open to new ideas. This week I would like to explore some more of the other covered in this ground-breaking book, which is a great read for anyone wanting to improve the way they see the world.
Embracing the Power of Intellectual Humility:
Gant emphasizes the importance of intellectual humility as the basis of effective decision-making. Being more aware of and acknowledging our own limitations and biases, will allow us to foster a mindset that embraces feedback and seeks out diverse perspectives. By recognizing the possibility of being wrong, managers can unlock fresh insights and uncover innovative solutions. Ultimately this more open way of thinking can lead to greater creativity, innovation and better outcomes for organisations.
Unlearn to relearn:
One of the central ideas in this book is the idea of unlearning. Having the ability to let go of outdated beliefs, of outdated ways of doing things is an important avenue to paving the way for change and driving growth. Being too attached to familiar approaches and ways of doing things can hinder growth. Remaining open to new ideas and unlearning old habits enables you to continually evolve and seize new and exciting opportunities, not feel threatened by them. Think of a time where you started somewhere new, maybe a new company or in a new role in a new department and had some ideas of how you could do something differently, better to the current processes. Were your ideas met with curiosity and a willingness to try them or explore them further? Was there genuine interest and curiosity in what you had to say? Or where you met with resistance and a ‘but we have always done it this way’ attitude. We all tend to get stuck in our ways so it takes discipline to encourage ourselves and those we work with to being open minded and ready to listen to new and innovative ideas and opinions.
Keep the questions flowing:
Gant highlights the significance of asking insightful questions to challenge assumptions and uncover deeper insights. By cultivating a culture of open-mindedness, a culture of curiosity and inquiry, business leaders can set the right foundations for critical thinking and innovation. Asking open-ended questions encourage open discussion and generally begin with words like “how,” “what,” or “why”, allowing for a range of responses, where there are no wrong answers. Open ended questions can uncover a plethora of new ideas and new insights. Leaders are also encouraged to use thought-provoking questions that challenge existing beliefs and drive higher levels of creative thinking; questions designed to disrupt conventional wisdom and encourage alternative viewpoints and possibilities to shine through. Likewise, asking follow-up questions are also a great way to get people to reflect further on a topic. Another good questioning strategy is for leaders to play the role of devil’s advocate, to challenge old assumptions and encourage critical thinking to expose potential flaws or weaknesses in existing ideas and ways of doing things. These strategies encourage leaders to take on a facilitative role using questioning to create a culture of creativity – one where ideas are encouraged and people are conditioned to stay open minded and not be attached too strongly to any one idea.
Nurturing a growth mindset:
Is there any other mindset to have than a growth mindset? It’s amazing how many business leaders and not open to new ideas and ways of doing things. There is no greater killer of innovation and creativity than being closed off to new ideas. Embracing a growth mindset allows leaders to view failure as learning opportunities, with the chance of making real change. By reframing setbacks as stepping stones toward improvement and success, leaders can inspire their teams to embrace challenges, push boundaries, and unlock their full potential.
Adapt to change:
Change is inevitable and in today’s world it has never been so rapid. Business cultures that are agile and resilient will be best placed to thrive in a dynamic environment. By acknowledging change as a constant, business managers can stay ahead of the curve, embrace opportunities and position their business for sustainable success.
In order to stay ahead of the game, navigate uncertainly and drive meaningful change, leaders need to challenge ingrained thinking patterns and foster a growth-mindset culture.
Could your leadership team benefit from one of my tailored workshops? Please get in touch today. I’d love to help.