“Leader with a beginner mindset” sounds weird as for so many years we wanted to have expert support in the leaders. The pace of technological and social changes is still accelerating and companies that are stuck in their status quo or are focusing only on improving the current ways of working, unfortunately, will not survive faster competition.
Currently, the key success factor in business is to have a beginner thinking, and it is about the tendency to periodically question and re-evaluate deeply rooted processes, stereotypes and conventions to develop innovative solutions.
You do not have to be a genius to have wildly unconventional ideas
The good news is that you do not have to be a genius to have wildly unconventional ideas. However, it often requires a way of thinking that is new to many leaders. This is because this way of thinking – the attitude of the beginner – as a starting point takes the degree of curosity, even naivety, which is diametrically opposed to the emphasis on experience and expertise, which in the first place has won many leaders. It is not about the leaders rejecting everything they learned about economic and business models. However, the attitude of the novice requires temporary questioning of assumptions and discovering new possibilities. It invites the Leaders to put aside knowledge and experience, if only for a moment, to gain the freedom of mind needed for creative discoveries. Leaders “carry heavy backpacks on their backs that often pull them backwards instead of quickly moving forward.” Relying on the knowledge gained during previous successes can of course sometimes pay off, but it can also make it difficult to search for radically new ways of doing things. However, the attitude of the beginner “frees us from … a jungle of views and opinions.”
Easy to say but how to do it?
The challenge for many leaders is to find ways to encourage such attitude – both for themselves and for their coworkers. Reducing interest in ideas for improving current products and operations and to strengthening the “dreams” of unlimited possibilities would for sure help. The business situation invites Leaders to ask basic questions to themselves and the team regarding current and future expectations of internal and external clients.
Is there a way for the leaders of companies with an established position to be able to use the valuable expertise accumulated in their organization and at the same time challenge it to sustainably increase their ability to innovate?