"If we have any power to diagnose, we are bound to recognize that the so
called ills which so afflict us all are, above all, growing pains."

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 421

Estimated reading time:  2:45 minutes


Last week I introduced some of my thinking about connectivity saying that you may have thousands of followers on social media, but that does not mean that you are connected. To be truly connected to another person in the digital (r)evolution, we need to make some conscious choices about the the nature and quality of the connections we are making. And for all of our connections through media and devices, our brains are wired for face to face communication.


I then introduced the idea of Dunbar’s number where it appears that we can handle a maximum of about 150 people in our ‘in-group.’ For many of us though, the 150 people who are in our in-group look and sound like us. One of the challenges is that we can fall into a group think trap. If you want innovation and creativity, you need to have diversity.


I see the three main elements for strong in-group diversity; respect, safety and fairness. Last week we looked at respect, this week, let’s explore safety.


The very best leaders are the ones who open themselves and their teams to new ideas, and new people, especially those who are different from the status quo. By pushing our own and our teams comfort zones our confidence and sense of safety grow. This holiday season, many of you will be generously donating to charities that support the less fortunate in your communities. Great, well done. And writing a cheque or sending an e-payment or clicking on a “donate here” button are acts of safety; you do not have to actually face the people who are less fortunate, you simply send them money. To push your safety zone, take the money to the charity’s office, or better yet, see if they need a volunteer for a shift or two. Go and meet people who appear different. In other words, push your safety boundary. There you will see the power of diversity and creativity. The more I can find myself working with people who are not like me, the safer I will feel. 


May you push the boundaries of your comfort zone this week.


Leadership Notes will not be published between Christmas and New Year and will return on the first week of 2017.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, and I wish you a healthy and happy New Year.