I was teaching at a conference with a group of colleagues on leadership. As I perused through the surveys I saw one comment that caught my eye (I am not sure why the negative comments always “catch our eye” but they do). This comment for some reason really got me thinking. The comment was, “This was OK but it was nothing new”.
My first reaction was to think, holy cow, should we have been presenting in a different manner, was our material not relevant, what can we do different? I let that settle in my mind for a while and did not share it with anyone else.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered; does everything have to be “new”? I think most of our challenges are not from what we do not know, but rather, what we do not do with what we know.
After many years of leadership, training and coaching I realized being accountable and following through with the knowledge we have is the greatest challenge. If we are not careful we are always looking for the newest, latest and greatest trend in leadership and not even applying what we have already learned. The wisest man on earth once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” If we believe that to be true then the challenge is not finding a new way to lead, but to apply what we have already learned. I think we have to guard against the desire to be stimulated with something new (or at least what we perceive as new) and practice executing what we already know. How many of us go to a conference, get several great ideas, maybe try one or two when we get back to the real world, put the conference binder on the shelf and go back to our routine?
I would love to hear what you think. Is taking on new information or a new way of saying/doing something more exciting than actually doing it? If so, how does a leader bring the two closer together?