Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Encourage Wonder

I am a born romantic.  Not in the flowers and chocolates sense, but in the classical sense: I love adventure.  I alway want to see the other side of the hill, the next town and even over the rainbow. I want new experiences so I can learn more about myself and the world.  In short, I have a strong sense of wonder.

As managers it's easy to fall into a rut.  To get stuck in a groove and to start doing things by rote. Routine is a killer even if it's occasionally necessary.

Break out!  Don't let it happen to you. A teacher used to tell me the only difference between a rut and a grave is 6 feet. If you want to keep yourself fresh and new, I encourage you to develop a sense of wonder.

You don't need to travel or even leave your computer. Just make a point every day of trying to learn something new. Google your way to new ideas and information. I'm not saying you should waste a whole day, but there's nothing wrong with 15-30 minutes.

Once you get used to it, encourage it in your workers. Yes - on company time!  Have them study new ideas, new concepts. Let them take time from work to learn something new.

Now, if you are really smart, you incentivize your workplace for good employee suggestions. Don't just post a suggestion box you never read. Offer cash prizes for new ideas that you implement. Or maybe give them a percentage of the savings any idea generates.

Give your workers the time to learn, study and germinate an idea that may improve your company forever. All it takes is 15-30 minutes per day. You know plenty are goofing off at least that much during the workday -- why not benefit from it?

Are you encouraging wonder? Why not?

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