It’s when you are 6 foot under.
One thing keeps recurring when I speak with successful entrepreneurs. All of them, with the exception of none, are constantly seeking and soaking up new information. They are constantly learning.
Whether it’s reading, watching online videos, attending seminars, they tend to have this constant hankering to soak up knowledge to get the next idea or to improve what they are doing.
And it’s not about MBAs, many don’t rely on formal education but rather constant learning. They also step outside of their familiar worlds and get input from different walks of life and business.
Another commonality is that they seek mentors. People who can guide and teach them, and they seek to also mentor others.
So today, sign up for the never-ending doctorate by asking what are you learning? What are you reading? Who are you learning from? It never stops.
The ultimate collaborative tool – an empty chair
The story goes that at Virgin’s head office, in their boardroom, is an empty chair. The chair represents the customer, so whenever Sir Richard and his executives get together, symbolically the customer is right there with them. This way they are reminded to see things from the customer’s point of view and not just their own.
Often when we’re brainstorming ideas and trying to find creative solutions we get caught up in our own point of view and fail to see things from the point of view of others. As a result we limit our thinking and may even fail to see opportunities outside of our own vision. A third person view of the world can very often make all the difference and so it’s important to see things from someone else’s perspective. To come up with quality ideas it’s vital to see things in different ways.
And this is exactly what the empty chair does.
We often use this as a device when facilitating business sessions. We place an empty chair at every table and as delegates work through various tasks and problems, they are constantly reminded to consider the customer’s voice, needs, and point of view. As a result they arrived with solutions that are not from their own point of view but from the point of view of the customer.
The empty chair can be used to represent other people as well, such as your stakeholders if they’re opinions and influence is important. Or perhaps the chair could represent a mentor or role model who can symbolically advise you and prompt you to see things differently.
So why not place an empty chair in your office, boardroom, or creative space? Let it be a reminder to get out of your own head and into the head of someone else and see things from their point of view.
For over 20 years Nigel Collin has been regarded as one of Australia’s top corporate MCs. He has advised Ministers of Parliament, C-Suite executives and spoken at numerous conferences. He is author of two books, a TED-Xer and Alumni of the Disney Institute. Nigel Collin’s current project has seen him travel on a motorbike around the Country to interview everyday Australians about what it takes to harness creativity, be ingenious and make great ideas happen..