Friday, November 13, 2009

“They have chocolate in the States”

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?


J Wong said...

Well said John. It takes a good leader to realize this and even a better one to push the envelope and execute outside of their comfort zone by trying something new. “Go beyond the white lines” and experience something new, is what you always taught me. Good to see you’re still implementing that same lesson in your current position. Enjoy your new experiences in India.

ken kuang said...

Great insight. Once again, John, I enjoyed the posting. This is a nice read for Friday.

For years I have been designing/manufacturing/selling products. This is my “chocolate”. We have an immediate opening for an R&D engineer, subconsciously I was going for the designing/manufacturing/selling type of person. One of the applicants has a PhD in materials science and engineering and is a nice fit for what we are looking for. Until I read your positing now, he was excluded from further consideration. As of this morning, we will schedule an interview for him next Tuesday. Thank you. I will always remember that “You can get chocolate in the States!”

Suman said...

Hi John,
Interesting how you interpreted the comment! Thats whats the key here, it shows your leadership quality and the reason why reading your posts always cheers me up! :)

Taking the food incident, most people I know in my family wont be aventurous with food especially on a business trip, from my father, brother, husband included! However it is interesting you raised the importance of thinking out of the comfort zone and trying to accomplish! Although in general I feel people who are most efficient at something should do it, with the right tools and motivation and leadership suppport, anyone can achieve I feel! I will take this as a reminder for myself and the teams I will work with!

By the way, not sure why you have Taj Mahal instead of some historic hyderbad picture! Sorry, just being nitpicky, I realize its a symbolism :)

Thanks for the post!

Michael K said...

This is a nice post to round out the week. It's important to keep your eyes and options open all the time, and even more critically important in the "flattening" world that we live in.

I always try to "live like a local" and sample the fare that I'd not normally get at home. I'm learning more and more about the customs and impacts of what we as Americans may take for granted as being out of line or offensive in other parts of the world where we wouldn't think twice about it, that now I take a breath and reflect a moment before I act - it's a good practic

Arjun said...

Thats nicely put John. Makes me eager to move out of my chocolate zone. Looking forward to the next post.

John Bishop said...

Hello everyone,

You have not seen a post in a few days because I am in China and locked out of my own blog!!!

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