I’ve been reading Decisive by the Heath brothers today and have really enjoyed it. We have been a lot of conversations about how to make decisions and I’m always open to new ideas to try and improve my leadership. However, one of the chapters really stood out because it’s something we have done at UVA and encourage others to do.
Steal other people’s ideas.
Because of this, I believe that there are other organizations and other people who have been in the situation I’m in now, they just got there before I did.
So, I should see what they did that worked, adapt it for my situation and steal it.
I would also take it a step further and say that you should recognize people or organizations that are in your field and are further down the path than you are and open lines of communication with them. Ask them questions about where they were, what they did that worked, and what they did that didn’t. This way you can decrease your probability of failure and even learn some new ideas that you may not have thought of before.
The Heath brothers tell the story of Sam Walton (the WalMart guy) who said the he got the checkout idea from Ben Franklin stores and said that he had probably been to more Kmarts than any other person in the world. He knew he could learn from those who were further down the road than he was.
I think this brings up a great point of taking visits to these places and being with them. See what it looks like when the rubber meets the road and how it all plays out. It could be a very worthwhile investment.
It takes a great deal of humility to do this. I think this is one of the reasons people aren’t willing to do it. You have to let go of control, admit that other people are smarter than you and ask for their help.
It also takes some grunt work to do some research.
All of my experience says that when you can build these relationships and ask those who are further down the road, good things happen and you continue to advance a bit at a time.
So, who are the people or the organizations that you should look to for advice?