Take comfort in being uncomfortable about being comfortable

March 27, 2010

There are two areas that I personally want to strengthen: 1) Communication and 2) Leadership. Over the last few years, I’ve come to recognize that in order for thinkspace to be a place where amazing things happen it requires people and a team that are highly motivated to do remarkable things. A team that understands and embraces the vision for the company which is to create a community that fosters inspiration and passion. This last week, I’ve read two articles that touch on both communication and leadership. The first article is from Art Petty’s blog where he talks about “Leadership Caffeine: 7 Odd Ideas to Help You Get Unstuck“.
“Take comfort in being uncomfortable about being comfortable” – Art Petty
That pretty much sums up what I’ve been expressing to my team. In order for the business to grow and be remarkable, it’s about getting out our comfort zone and thinking about ways to do the same thing better or come up with some crazy new ideas that haven’t been done before inside of thinkspace. It’s about taking existing processes and challenging the status quo.  It’s about asking questions like why do we do things this way and what are ways where it can be done more efficiently and save us money.  Ultimately the goal is to do these things that impact the customer experience, to make that experience remarkable.
The second article that I read was by Scott Berkun (@berkun) who gave a speech on Innovation at The Economist. Scott brings up that in order for their to be innovation you have to have a couple things:

Culture of Trust:

“First, most teams don’t work. They don’t trust each other. They are not led in a way that creates a culture where people feel trust…Without trust, there is no collaboration. Without trust, ideas do not go anywhere even if someone finds the courage to mention them at all.” – Scott Berkun

Leaders that take risks:

“Second, most managers/leaders are risk averse. This isn’t their fault, as most people are risk averse. We have evolved to survive and that typically means being conservative and protecting the status quo.” – Scott Berkun
“But without the ability to take risks, innovation and progress can not happen. Even if you have a good idea, to bring it into the world is risky.” – Scott Berkun
These two things resonate with me. In order for there to be trust there needs to be good communication. Understanding each other on the team is a big part of that. Understanding each others communication styles is also very important. I recently took a Leadership DISC survey to better understand myself. It was a bit of an eye opener when I read the words used to describe me when I’m under pressure are: “abrasive, demanding, and aggressive” not exactly flattering. Some other things that the DISC report said that I am a “Change agent–looks for faster and better ways”; “People oriented”; and “Forward-looking and future-oriented”. I’d like to share the entire report with my team and find ways to improve my communication and grow as a leader. It’s through these things that I feel will help build a great company.