Perhaps it is clear in your mind what winning looks like in your organization. Perhaps, you think your team is aligned around the same vision. Do you test your assumptions? Do you ask them what winning looks like for them?

Vistage Speaker Holly Green challenged my westside Vistage group to slow down and look at our process for winning. It starts by looking at how the brain works. We are comfortable with how we have done things in the past. Unlearning what we already know may be the biggest roadblock. Neural paths become neural highways as we repeat the successful strategy.  You’ve heard it before: previous success may be the cause of future failure. It is no longer one way to do things, it is THE way to do things.

So examining and challenging your thinking is key to innovation. How do you do that? Holly Green suggests making your thinking process visible. State your assumptions and describe the data that led to them. Give examples. Encourage others to test both your assumptions and your conclusions. Ask them what they think and how they would go about getting to the desired result. If you do this, you give your team permission to explore how you might not succeed.  And, together you can build a more robust path forward.

Don’t you especially love/hate it when you ask the team what would cause your brilliant idea to fail? You love it when they agree and you hate it when they come up with big reasons why your idea sucks. If you can wait out your urge to defend yourself, you will get to a much better strategy. Isn’t that what you were looking for anyway?

This week, ask your team what winning looks like and align along the next steps to make that more likely to happen. Test your assumptions. Getting to winning is not comfortable, but it is really fun.

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