The Power of Gathering Input

 

Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend of mine who is a consultant for a local technology firm. We’ve known each other for years and I always appreciate his insights and ideas. While he knows a lot about publishing and the marketplace, he’s not in the industry so he doesn’t have the normal biases or institutional memory. I came away from our time together inspired and much more informed than I was when we began an hour earlier.

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I don’t know about you, but I have a small network of close friends who give me tremendous input. If you don’t have such a group, I’d highly recommend that you seek out people who are willing to just hang with you and talk about their market or ministry, what they are seeing as trends, how their organization is responding and what they think about your industry. It’s an invaluable way to get advice and input as often the best input comes from someone who brings to the table a totally different point of view or comes from a totally different place than you do.

The most successful leaders I’ve known feel comfortable asking for the input of others whenever they need it. They make no attempt to project an image of the all-knowing executive.

Why would you want to seek input from people outside your market or business?

  • It’s the highest form of compliment. These are wonderful and knowledgeable people. By demonstrating that you think highly enough of someone to share your personal challenges or invite them into helping you solve problems is a way to express esteem to them.
  • It allows for new perspectives. The outside people who regularly give me great input also bring different angles, different views and refreshing insights. I can then take their thoughts and use them to help my business or myself be better or create completely new paradigms.
  • It gives me a new set of eyes. Unfortunately many times I miss the obvious because I’ve stared at it so long it’s become part of the scenery. Gathering outside input gives me fresh eyes.
  • It gives me a new information set. We drown ourselves in data and information in our own markets and sometimes it’s good to hear new information from other areas that, when it’s all glued together, affect trends I’m seeing here.

I learned a long time ago that there are many people much brighter than me who can give me input and advice that cuts to the chase. 

Do you regularly hang out with people who can help stretch your thinking to new ideas and perspectives?

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3 Responses to “The Power of Gathering Input”

  1. It’s so important for each of us to do this, Wayne, yet so few of us do it. Probably because it takes us out of our comfort zone. I am so fulfilled by people with whom I can have in-depth conversations; people who don’t necessarily agree with my point of view but who bring intelligent, thoughtful input to the discussion. When I can talk with someone who doesn’t necessarily agree with me but is respectful enough to listen and share his or her point of view without rancor, it makes my day.

  2. Michele, thanks for the comment and I totally agree. Once trust is developed it’s very helpful to get other opinions and points of view. Too often we’re stuck in the rut of our own thinking.
    On 9/25/09 2:33 PM, “typepad@sixapart.com” wrote:
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  3. Thanks, Michele and I totally agree. Once trust between friends is developed the back and forth conversation is a tremendous help.
    On 9/25/09 2:33 PM, “typepad@sixapart.com” wrote:
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    [cid:3337088561_55902759] [cid:3337088561_55892880] [cid:3337088561_55927621]
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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

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