Adi Dassler, a cobbler by trade, who founded Adidas, once said, “Come to work every day as if it were the first time. This will prevent you being blinded by routine”.
First dayRoutine and established processes that can be captured by the phrase, “that’s just the way things are done around here” stand as one of the biggest impediments to innovation, change and adaption. The only ‘bigger obstacle’ than the actual practice of such is the mind-set from which they emerge.
Author and management thinker Joel Barker suggests that one of the ‘groups’ within a company that can help shift the organisational paradigm are those who are, ‘qualified to do the job but not experienced in the job’. In other words, those who ‘come to work every day as if for the first time’.
Dassler’s advice is important for senior leaders intent on being futurefit and creating organisations that will be able to thrive into the future. One of the ways in which leaders can recapture that ‘new perspective’ is to spend some time with those for whom work is new. The organisational hierarchy usually safeguards this from being a natural occurrence and this is to the ultimate detriment of leaders cut-off from such fresh insights and perspectives.
It will also take a certain amount of ‘openness’ on the part of the leader for such perspectives to be heard. It is all too easy to dismiss what is being said as uninformed and perhaps naïve but therein sits the value if only it can be heard. I know of leaders who have intentionally positioned and trained themselves to be able to hear such insights.
So, your challenge as a leader is not only to ensure you hear from those ‘qualified but not experienced’ but also how to instil in those leaders around you the ability to ‘come to work every day as if it were for the first time’.
Do that and I suspect that conversations around the need to innovate, change and ensure that your company is adapting to the disruptive future, that such conversations will become a whole lot easier!

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