1. Being results focused
2. Resolving conflicts
3. Not being afraid to challenge the status quo.
4. Looking for new ways of doing things.
5. Being creative with change
6. Creating an innovation culture
If that list sounds daunting, Friedman provides tips and exercises to make them manageable. Scenario exercises help to focus on results, for example. They involve identifying a specific goal you want to achieve and then listing three alternative methods for getting there, including the resources you’ll need and the challenges you’ll face. He also recommends experimenting with new patterns of behavior (how and when you do things) and even crowd sourcing as a way to see new ways of doing things.
At Intertech, we’ve woven innovation and new ways of doing things into the very fabric of how we operate. For example, our annual FedEx Day gives employees the freedom to design a new product or process that they believe will benefit the firm as a whole. We also host an annual employee town hall, which provides opportunities for brainstorming and recommending new ways of doing things.
Personally, I spend time away every winter. The time away from the daily routine (and Minnesota winter!) is a chance to more deeply connect with my wife and kids. It’s also important time for me to reflect on every aspect of my life and to consider new ways of doing things or how to stop doing things.
I also advocate reading widely, attending well-chosen leadership development conferences, and participating in leadership networks. All of these activities help me to keep my mind open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.
According to Friedman, “leading the life you want is a craft. As with music, writing, dance or any athletic endeavor, you can always get better at it by practicing.”