Changing the Conversation


Innovation​ ​Kryptonite​ ​-​ ​Knower​ ​vs.​ ​Learner​


Lesson Info

Changing the Conversation

So here's a simple way to reframe. Next time you find yourself in knower land. You can take a page from improvisational comedy, and you can use these linguistic tricks to shift the conversation. One thing that I think it's true, and I don't know who quoted it, but the conversation is your culture. Right, the conversations happening in your hallways are your culture. What are people saying? How are they talking about things? And very specifically, if the conversations are about what we can't. What's limiting me. What my obstacles are, that is a knower culture. Counter-innovative; it is innovation kryptonite. If the conversations are, what might me? How, what, might me? What is the possibility? Do I see the future of doing things differently? If that's the conversation, then you have an innovative culture. And it's that's simple. And there's a way to reframe it by not using these three words. Never say we can't. Never say no. And never say but. Sounds easy, not so easy to do. But when I ...

worked in my last company, we were religious about self-correcting, auto correcting others and ourselves whenever we used these words. Somebody would say, "We can't." You mean, how could we? That's what you mean, right? Right, Bill, right Sarah? You mean how could we, right? You don't mean, we can't. We can't get that through legal. How could we get that through legal? It's a different framing for the same thing. It still implies there's an obstacle and a challenge, but it means it's potentially possible. And a very, very different conversation than we can't. We can't shuts everybody down, nobody even tries. Instead of no, we can't do a million dollar promotion, no way. I wish we had 50 million dollars. I wish. Still a possibility. Same, same barrier, same reality. Possibility emerges, somebody can work on it and maybe solve it. And instead of but. But we'll never be able to stock all those stones fast enough. And at the same time, we're gonna need to get a lot of inventory. Yes, and we're gonna need a lot of inventory. Same conversation, different way of framing it. This comes from improve, because in improv the whole goal is to keep the conversation and the creativity flowing. If you are up there on stage and you're saying, "Wow, look at," you know and you've got a green screen behind you. "Wow, look at this amazing beach, look at that sunset." And the guy next to you goes, "I don't see a sunset." It's dead, right? And then you say, "Yes, and what "a awesome cocktail they just made. "I wish," and you hear it over and over again in improv, because they're creating the conversation to keep it going, and the same goes for your teams. If you can keep the conversation going and not shut people down, you are shifting the culture ever so subtly to one of innovation. If you change the conversation, you can change the culture. And if you practice this, it actually works in a couple of weeks. It can change the entire dynamic of the team, particularly your knower led, operator-led kind of group, if you shift your culture and you stop saying we can't, no, you can really shift the culture that swiftly. So we're actually coming to the end of this segment. It's a little bit shorter than the others. I'll tee up what's coming next, and then maybe do a little dialogue about a knower learner, cause I know there should be some questions about how to show up as a learner leader. What we're gonna talk about next is why resiliency, why being able to take the hard knocks is essential to being an innovation leader. Because as we talked about at the beginning in the slide metaphor, if you are the one leading innovation, the status quo will come out and beat you up. The antibodies in the system will come out and inadvertently knock you around because things and systems don't like to change, and some people also don't like to change.

Class Description

Define the key characteristics of the “knower” mindset (closed to innovation) and the “learner” mindset (open to innovation), and learn language and tools to encourage the learner mindset to flourish.