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What comes next

In South Central Kansas, we awoke to a winter wonderland this morning. The storm was forecasted for days in advance. Over the last two days, people were busy preparing, buying groceries, fueling vehicles, and dusting off snow shovels. We are all lured by the promise of certainty. We like to be prepared. We like maps, but a global positioning system that can pinpoint our location to within 15 feet is even better.

Yet the biggest myth we believe is that we know what comes next. Each event or performance is a moment in time. Measurements reflect the past. The challenge of leadership is to stimulate ourselves and our organizations to continually adapt, to move in new directions, to propel innovation. Julia Sloan suggests leaders can create an environment that supports change by developing five essential attributes. imagination, expanded perspective, ability to “juggle,” no control over, and desire to win.

Here are a few ideas that leaders can use to strengthen these attributes for themselves:

  • Instead of saying, “No,” ask a question.
  • Reflect on experiences and situations that evoke strong feelings like anger, sadness, or happiness.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings as a way to identify patterns and understand assumptions.
  • Tell stories that illustrate your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Suspend judgment, slow down, look for a “surprise” – then reflect on the surprise.
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