Illuminate Your World

Sometimes when you learn something new, it is like a light bulb coming on. You begin to see things you did not see before. The world did not change, but your view of it did. Reflection can help you turn on those light bulbs.

Experience without reflection is nothing but a record of your work. Experience with reflection is enlightening. The reflection process allows you to grow, learn, and break through barriers.

Reflection can probe deeper, and suddenly an experience becomes illuminated, and your understanding and view of the world changes. How can you make your daily reflection this productive? Ask yourself probing open ended questions. Don’t only review the surface of your day, but dig deep. Here are some questions for you to consider:

1. How did my actions reflect my values? Where can I improve my actions or attitude to better reflect the values I hold?

2. Who did I help? How did I increase the potential for someone?

3. What is the one most important thing that I can do to increase my potential or reach my goal?

4. What did I do that distracted me from my goals? Where were the sources of my distraction? What do I need to do differently?

5. How have I served my family, my team, and my friends today?

6. If I knew I would be successful, what one thing should I do tomorrow?

7. What false limitations have I placed upon myself?

8. Have I unleashed my enthusiasm and passion? Where am I holding back?

If you are not routinely using a reflection process in your life, grab a journal or pad of paper, and get started today. Only you can light your path.

Three Things You Can Do To Spark Innovation

An organization does not become innovative without the environment. Innovation results from letting people think creatively in a supportive environment. As a leader, you have the ability to influence and create that environment. It is not as easy as you think, but here are three actions you can take that will put you on the right track.

1. Communicate the goals, objectives, and mission of your organization.

It would be a waste of effort to create an innovative culture that was not focused on the organization’s goals. You could end up with a great ideas and motivated employees that can’t contribute to the organization.

Tell people what the organization needs. Tell them how they can help. Describe what success would be, but most of all don’t tell them how to do it. Don’t micro manage the process.

2. Remove threats, pressures, and provide support and encouragement.

People must be encouraged to experiment and try new things. People need recognition for success and failure. Keep people focused on participation, and less on measurements. Create awards for “Best idea that almost succeeded”, and “Most incredible idea that did not work”.

Turn failures into opportunities to learn. Take two unrelated failures and a review team, and see how you may take ideas from both and create something new.

3. Provide a fun environment that sparks imagination and creativity with fun, games, and challenges.

Creativity is a skill that can be developed. Giving people an opportunity to think of solutions without pressure is what games and challenges can provide. These can be team challenges or individual challenges. They can be structured or very unstructured. Make them fun, and get people involved.

Games and challenges can seem as a waste of time by some. But in the right context, it creates participation, fun, and another way to recognize creativity. A challenge can be as simple as describing the link between three unrelated items. For example, have everyone describe what a bulldozer, a telephone, and a coffee cup have in common. Make it fun and award free movie passes to the person that submits the most creative connections.

You can make a difference in your organization. Take responsibility for helping create the right environment for innovation, because innovation will not happen by accident.