Blessed are the flexible.

blessed are the flexible

I’m not really talking about how far you can stretch your body. I’m more concerned with how deep the ruts are in your thinking.

How easy is it for you to shift the way you think and respond to events? How do you respond to ideas which are different than yours?

If you are like me, you often respond with suspicion, scepticism, or outright rejection. This is usually because I think I have thought through all of the issues, and come up with the best solution already. Anything someone else says will simply slow down the process and will distract others from adopting what I already know is the best idea.

Okay, so maybe I am overstating things a bit, but I bet some of this is hitting close to home for you. If not, I don’t think you are being honest with yourself.

There are times when a leader has been placed into a position because others have recognised that they have great ideas. This is something we need to recognise, but you also need to recognise that the group around you has been placed for the same reason.

Your team is just as important as you are.

So, how do you develop flexibility in thinking? How can you work the soil of your mind to smooth over the ruts and allow your thinking to flow in new directions more easily?

Improv is a great way to create mental flexibility.

Shaunacy Ferro, over at Mental Floss, has written an article on how doing improv can help your professional life. She fills these out a bit, but here is her list.

  1. It keeps you listening.
  2. It prioritises cooperation.
  3. You must build on the ideas of others.
  4. You have to offer concrete ideas.
  5. You’re guaranteed to fail.

If these are things you think would be helpful to develop flexibility in your thinking, try doing some improv.

The missing piece,

is trust!

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Trust is not easy.

It is easier to create protocols, procedures, and manuals. It is easier to create scripts, systems, and structures.

These other things are easier, because then we don’t have to get into the difficulties of actually connecting on a personal level with another person. We don’t have to give them responsibility without knowing for sure if they will succeed or fail. We don’t need to work on our interpersonal skills because we can simply lay it all out for them.

But, we also hamper the creativity and abilities of the person are working with. We short circuit any attempts are true collaboration and innovation because there is no room to try anything new.

Trust is key if we are really going to work well with our team.

How do you build trust in your team?

diving a little deeper on purpose

Diver swims in a Red Sea

Here at Improvise on Purpose we take a break from time to time to take a deeper dive into a topic of interest with some brief but meaty white papers. You will find them in a menu on the home page (on the right of the page).

Today we are taking a dive into the world of purpose. There has been quite a bit of talk about what the real purpose of business is. You can see this played out on places like Dragon’s Den as one ‘dragon’ argues that the purpose of business is solely to maximise the profit for the shareholders, while others argue that there ought to be a social / environmental purpose for the business as well.

Take a look at the paper as we explore the question; What is the purpose of business?