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You might think that all the conversation about DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) is just a passing fad. But it’s really about creating a much healthier organization, and improving your business results.

Including increased revenue and decreased costs.

How does this work?

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I don’t know if you’ve ever made a mistake when hiring someone. If you haven’t, then you must be smarter and luckier than I am.

Because it does happen, despite your best preparations.

And when you’re dealing with employees, it’s much trickier than if you purchase the wrong product. But there are things we can do about it.

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I’ve noticed that beauty often comes in attention to the details. The kitchen utensil that does its job perfectly every time. The keyboard that I use constantly. The location of the shift lever in my car. The layout of the website that just makes sense.

It’s kind of crazy, yes, but these things matter a great deal.

But how do you keep this design sense from becoming all-consuming? Because we can spend WAY too much time obsessing about stuff that really doesn’t matter that much.

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I’ve been taking some training recently on a tool which helps distinguish the different types of thinking and action we all have. There are a lot of different assessment models out there in the coaching world, and this one uses a model of five archetypes.

In our discussion today, I was pondering how these different innate preferences tend to exacerbate conflicts and misunderstandings.

It seems that we all want others to think like we do! It’s logical, right?

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When we want employees to learn something, we send them to a class.

It’s not the worst thing to do, but that’s not the way adults learn new things. It’s a paradigm that’s copied from the system we developed in the 1800s to teach millions of children to become factory workers.

Do YOU have your best growth by sitting in a class? Probably not.

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For most of us, 2020 was a brutal year. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be better, but it’s going to be a slow improvement, likely with many false starts and surprises.

So how do we remain optimistic in an environment like this? It’s about the learning.

Challenges, problems and failures provide a richer learning environment than when things go well. I find that a bit annoying, but it’s true. It’s about being observant and thoughtful despite the emotional turmoil of things not going according to plan.

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As I mentioned last week David Peterson is the Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google.

He mentioned a phrase which stuck with me: “There’s no learning in the comfort zone, and there’s no comfort in the learning zone.” Last week I talked about the first part, today I’d like to focus on the second.

Why does learning push you out of your comfort zone?

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I had a chance to see a presentation by David Peterson recently; he’s the Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google. And a brilliant coach!

He mentioned a phrase which stuck with me: “There’s no learning in the comfort zone.” There’s actually a second part of the statement, but I’m going to talk about that next week.

So why would the comfort zone be a place of no learning?

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This should be an easy question to answer, right? You’re the boss, so you’re steering the ship!

But there’s a good chance that when I listen to you, I’m hearing you mention a lot of other people. The employee who called in sick. Those customers who just keep demanding. The weather. The government.

I get it, I really do. It feels like I’m just a tiny boat on the water, at the mercy of anything and everything.

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Cleaning up after a meeting, I asked, “where’s your recycling?”

I wasn’t that surprised to find out they had no recycling bin in that office, so I simply took the can home with me. No big deal.

I wasn’t trying to be “that annoying guy with an agenda”, but trying to move the needle, even fractionally.

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