This DATIS Blog Article, “3 Reasons Why a New Perspective is Important for Leaders“, was originally posted by Fiona Moriarty, Linked 2 Leadership, on July 7th, 2015 and was reposted with permission.
Being a leader means keeping all the moving parts of your organization running smoothly, while also making time to … well … lead.
Leaders get to the top by constantly progressing and innovating, so it’s crucial on both an individual and organizational level, to continue doing so.
Getting New Perspectives
In my experience, one way to ensure that you’re constantly pushing the ball forward as opposed to just keeping trains running on time is to collect new perspectives through experiences and travel.
Here are three reasons why I believe perspective and traveling and is so important for leaders:
1. Novelty leads to more novelty.
To start, seeing and experiencing new people, places, and things is a great way to stimulate new ideas. Academic studies have shown that “functional learning in a multicultural context is particularly important for facilitating creativity.”
The even better news:
It’s a long-term investment, as creativity is facilitated even when you just recall a multicultural experience.
And creativity, of course, is key to keeping your organization on the leading edge, whether it’s for product development, market position or internal processes. Even just the change of scenery and additional headspace that comes from unplugging while you go from point A to point B can help spark new ideas.
2. Imitation can be strategic.
To state the obvious, there are lots of smart people in the world. Great leaders don’t pretend they are smarter than everyone else but instead make a point to learn from others.
When traveling, meet new people and visit a variety of organizations. Each interaction comes with different life and business experiences, so ask questions, see what’s working and not working, and imitate their strengths.
For example, I’ve struck up countless conversations with cab drivers and quickly learned a lot about how the local economy works and what challenges it’s facing.
This can be an easy and effective way to get unexpected insight into new markets.
3. Zooming out can reduce burnout.
While leaders already have to see the whole puzzle in order to ensure the organization runs smoothly, it’s equally (if not more) important to look beyond the walls of the business or market.
Seeing new places and getting out of the office can help put day-to-day tasks in perspective.
For example, seeing more of the world may make you realize one particular missed deadline isn’t that big of a deal — thus reducing stress and the potential for burnout. Or, seeing more may confirm just how important your organization’s mission is so you realize meeting a particular deadline is indeed important and worth your time.
Business or Pleasure
No matter the situation, the good news is that traveling doesn’t have to mean a month abroad – although such a trip is a great experience for any leader. Personally, I check in with Hipmunk every time I have a business trip scheduled to see if it’s worth extending to some nearby destinations.
Beyond that, mixing more travel into your routine can be as simple as sprinkling in an extra business trip or two every few months. Make that a priority, and you’ll be en route to a new destination and well on the way to becoming an even more effective leader in a snap.