The Creative Executive: Find Out What You Don’t Want to Know?
The solution can be as simple as a polite, “please tell me what I don’t want to hear.”
“Leaders need to constantly ask themselves how do I find out what I don’t want to know? How do I know when the advice from those around me is sincere, or when it is just flattery?” — Curtis Panasuk, Creativity Instructor
Here are four things that executives and leaders can start doing today — I developed these when I was a CEO.
If you get bad news, never “shoot the messenger.” Instead, thank the person for the information and acknowledge how much you appreciate that they took the effort to tell you.
At the end of a meeting with an individual or your staff, ask the question, “Is there anything else that we need to hear or talk about.” This is where you can “open the spigot” of what may be on their minds, smoldering under the surface.
When you get bad news or someone challenges you, then your first reaction should be to immediately smile because body language speaks volumes, and this sends a big OK message to the individual, and your team that you want to hear this type of information.
Finally, you can simply ask people and your team, “please tell me what I don’t want to hear.” Then, receive that information in a friendly manner (again, smile), and realize that a friend is a person who stabs you in the front.
“I teach corporate creativity, and I repeatedly see how giving permission to someone (or, everyone) on the team to speak freely, propels the organization to the highest level of creative problem solving and innovation.” — Curtis Panasuk, Creativity Instructor