Do you give yourself some time to think about it from a distance, to look at it from afar so you can see it in its entirety?
It’s not always an easy thing to do when you’re busy spinning plates and reacting to the demands of your customers, people, investors and partners. But it is essential. You really are doing your business, your people and yourself no favours if you stay close all of the time.
As a leader you need to lead from the front and inspire your people to follow and your partners and customers to trust in your judgement. You must steer your ship to keep it on course and be aware of potential hazards along the way. And you need to innovate to stay ahead. You can only do this if you step back and take “time out” from the business. When I say “time out” I’m not talking about your holiday and about re-charging your batteries, vital though that is, but whilst you’re still working.
You can’t simply turn on your creative juices like a tap or be inspiring on demand. For me, creative juices tend to start flowing when I’m driving, walking the dog or down the gym. These juices are distinctly absent when I’m at my desk or in front of a whiteboard.
Recognise those moments when you seem to have ideas and try to use them for thinking. Again, you can’t “think” on demand and it may not always work, but thinking about your business is vital and so put yourself in the best situation for this to occur. If you don’t, how can you possibly innovate? If you want your people to come up with good ideas (and you should) then encourage them to think.
If you want your “brainstorming” meetings to be just that, don’t simply set the meeting and expect your people to be creative on demand. Give them the subjects you want to discuss a couple of weeks in advance and send out a couple of periodic reminders to help keep the creative juices flowing. If possible, aim to have two meetings with a few days in between. The first meeting will hopefully highlight some great ideas, which should then float around in yours and their heads, for the second one to build on. Great ideas may then become brilliant ideas.
This is particularly important when you’re in the fourth quarter of your fiscal year when you should start the Think phase of your stategic planning cycle and set the goals and objectives for the following year.
Really, do your business and yourself a favour and walk away.
When do your creative juices start flowing? Let me know it’d be interesting to hear.