Innovation Step Two: Become a Student, Not a Critic

Share via:

Once you’ve acknowledged what’s not working, you need to take another step.  You need to become a student.  You need to become a learner.  Of everything.  Or maybe, almost everything.

Now…I have to tell you, it will not come naturally.  Most of us are far more comfortable being a critic.  We come fully equipped with an opinion about what we don’t like about this or that.  But we need to get comfortable with being a student.

Why?  Easy.  If what we already knew how to do was 100% effective…wouldn’t we have already reached our goal?  Think about it.  If what you were already doing and if the way you were already doing it was really the very best strategy and implementation…wouldn’t you be having wild success right now?

I think you see what I mean…right?

My recent series about Latest Learnings is based on this concept.  The reason I read what I do and ask the questions I do is based on two understandings.  First…I know that I don’t know everything.  Second, I’m hopeful that the next thing I trip across will be the learning that enables us to reach the widening 60% that are unreachable with the attractional model.

Now…I want you to know that I didn’t come up with this principle.  I got this from Andy Stanley and it is an essential understanding.  In Stanley’s Recent Random Thoughts on Leadership, he pointed out that “The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation ( Al Ries, Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It).”  You can hear Andy’s talk right here.

Know what that means?  You’re right!  It means that you need to pay attention to what’s happening outside of your comfort zone.  You need to pay close attention to what’s happening nearby.  You need to ask questions.  You need to take notes.  You need to argue.  You need to…well, you need to become a student…not a critic.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email