This evening our Winona, MN team completed a focus group of our employees to pick their brains on many topics related to employment. Without giving away any spoilers it was an incredible success! In addition to the wealth of ideas and information we were able to receive there was no short supply of compliments as well. I was very grateful for the opportunity for my team to hear about all of the great work they’ve been doing firsthand from the people they serve on a daily basis.
What really struck me was just how differently I assumed some people saw the world. In my head I thought I had many of the motivations figured out. I’ve been doing this for so many years I thought it would all tie back to what I’ve learned throughout that time. Sure, there were some pretty staple answers too, but there were many more times in which I was left surprised.
Back in the day I was fortunate to be selected to go to a training in London, Ontario focused on thinking with an “Outside In” mindset rather than an “Inside Out” mindset. Using the Outside In approach you gather info from outside the organization and use it to drive strategy. Inside Out is making assumptions from within and then taking action. Of course it is clear to see that Outside In is the preferred method, but it is so easy to put the blinders on without knowing it and to think Inside Out.
The focus group today was an excellent reminder of why it is important to take a step back and get that outside opinion. The insights we gleaned will have an impact on our strategy and direction and I’m so thankful for them. I can honestly say our 2021 will be even more successful as a result of having that knowledge.
Where else in life should I remember to pause and listen to outside voices? Maybe not just listen to them, but actively seek them out. This is a lesson that will bounce through my brain for many months I’m sure.