Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…and for the older amongst you, you will now have images of Julie Andrews tripping through your head and that tune bouncing around that same space for the next couple of hours.
I doubt if you will thank me for either!
However, using this starting place, there are three practical actions you can try should you wish to improve your leadership practice.

Juiie Andrews

Image from USA Today

Ask questions. Smart leaders ask good questions. The framework of Appreciative Inquiry has been around for some time now but the notion of digging deeper through well-crafted questions is a powerful leadership tool. In his book, Taking People With You, Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO Dave Novak, writes about two questions he regularly asks people throughout his business as he has opportunity to interact with them.
•    What would you do if you had my job? (Takes courage to ask that question and even more courage to answer!)
•    What is working for you and what is not?
He also engages his staff around what they might have in common and invites them to share something that they don’t think he knows about them. All great questions that both engage and ignite meaningful conversations. I recently met with a good friend in London who was part of Novak’s team. I asked him if he was aware of Novak asking these questions. From his answer it would appear that in this instance, Novak ‘walks the talk’. It was both good and reassuring to hear!
Book…read good books! Too busy to read? Then you are too busy. Smart leaders understand the importance of reading and here one should be selective. There is a lot from which to choose and so choose wisely. An open mind and a learning mentality are essential leadership attributes should one wish to be futurefit. Read books that will challenge and stimulating your thinking; read the kind of books that will inspire and fire your curiosity; read books that will give you the courage to challenge assumptions and unlock the future. Get those around you reading. Start an executive book club where you can share your insights and learning. Perhaps the key here is to focus your (the that of others’) reading in order to harvest the full benefits of this investment of your time and energy.
A good place to start? Here would be some suggestions…
•    Uncommon sense, common nonsense by Jules Goddard & Tony Eccles
•    Leadership and Self-Deception publish by the The Arbinger Institute
•    The Future by Al Gore
•    Leading in Changing World by Keith Coats & Graeme Codrington
•    Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein
Curiosity Conversations. In his wonderful book, A Curious Mind, Brian Grazer writes about the intentional pursuit of what he terms, ‘curiosity conversations’. Conversations designed to learn something specific from someone considered an authority in that field. It is an enchanting concept and one that I think could be easily adopted by any leader who is curious and keen to learn. Why not attempt one such conversation per month? What would be the accumulative impact and benefit of developing such a habit? Grazer provides a ‘template’ for approaching such conversations but it really isn’t difficult and is the kind of leadership practice that leaders should develop. What an example it would set for those looking on!
There is a simple ‘A,B,C’ to enhance your leadership. This is the stuff that you know is important but that usually gets held hostage to the urgent issues that clog your time.
Here then is a leadership challenge: Over the next 30 days why not do the A,B,C. See what unfolds as a result and if so inclined, do share the results with me / TomorrowToday. We are always keen to hear about leadership experimentation and practice…in other words, your story.

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