After walking a new plant construction site in Hyderabad, India, we were hosted to share a traditional Indian lunch. The location was a nice hotel and the service was fantastic. There was a nice variety of desserts and I selected one. My traveling partner returned to his seat with a much more interesting and aggressive choice of desserts. He looked at my plate and said, “You can get chocolate in the States!” He was quite right and I caught myself following habit (yes, I got up and tried things I did not recognize).
The same can be true in how you lead and what solutions you apply to problems. Learning, wisdom and habits have many benefits, but if they cause a leader to avoid trying new techniques, styles and approaches, they become a hindrance. We all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and sometimes others do it for us. We just need to listen and hear them when they do.
When have you been reminded in a to stretch out of your comfort zone? How did you respond?