Innovation requires more listening and communication

It’s not so important whether you find the challenges or they find you. What is important are the choices you make when stuff happens. That’s why you must go out and talk to constituents, customers, vendors, and others who might provide insight.

Take one day this week and communicate with at least one new or under-used contact. Then at the end of the day, answer the following questions: What new insight did you gain from your exchange? How might you use or build on what you learned? Should the contact be part of your regular network?  What is the best way to share your knowledge?

You also must stay sensitive to external realities. Consider using podcasts or video links from external sources to support innovative new ideas or approaches to the way you currently do business thinking.  Use key words to search the Internet for free podcasts and videos. As a first step try searching blogs using free online tools such as socialmention.com, Technorati.com, and socialmeter.com.

These quick activities can help you specifically focus on LPI Item #13: I search outside the formal boundaries of my organization for innovative ways to do what we do.

Excerpted from The Leadership Challenge Practice Book, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, with Mark Morrow © 2010, published by Pfeiffer/An imprint of Wiley. All rights reserved. 

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