As someone who comes alive in the backcountry of Colorado, I understand just how critical research is.
Failure to do research before one of these trips could very well mean death if an avalanche were to occur.
I proactively research my planned route in order to detect environmental signs of instability within snow-packed areas. Avoiding dangerous areas early is critical to surviving an avalanche and can only be done effectively with thorough research.
Researching in Business
As important as researching is in the great outdoors, one might wonder if this technique also works in the great indoors.
Ask yourself this:
Is the treacherous world of business any different?
If you’ve ever been caught in an economic or competitive snow slide, you know it isn’t. Survival in business can be attributed to two things: good fortune or good planning. Since you can’t depend on the first, it’s critical that you don’t neglect the latter.
5 Tips for Improving Leadership through Research
Truly great leaders have two very important characteristics: They lead by example and continuously work to better themselves. Conducting research regularly is one of the best methods for personal development and, if done correctly, can spread through your organization like a virus — a very beneficial virus.
Follow these five tips for improving leadership and company culture through research:
1) Research Topics that Interest You
Researching topics that don’t interest you is one surefire way to make sure your research fails. It makes researching a tedious chore. Instead, you should find topics that interest you, especially during your initial dive. Later, when you’ve come to enjoy the process and the rewards of research, you’ll find it much easier to research topics that aren’t quite as fun.
2) Make Research a Habit
Research is a discipline because it requires consistent engagement. To get the full benefits of research, you have to dedicate the necessary time to consistently perform research; otherwise, the overall effectiveness of research is reduced. Research should be part of your daily routine. Sign up for industry newsletters and read articles. When you come across something that inspires you, start your research and dedicate time each day to exploring the topic.
3) Create a “Womb Room”
There is a special room in my home I call my “womb room” — it’s where I get continually formed and reformed. I start virtually every day in this sacred space, developing myself, and then carry that development forward into all other dimensions of my life. This should be a pleasant space that’s comfortable and enjoyable to be in. Have resources at your fingertips so research is as convenient as possible.
4) Share What You Have Learned
Part of being a good leader is bringing up those around you. Sharing your knowledge will strengthen the entire organization and inspire others to do their own research. Don’t hesitate to get excited about what you’ve learned and make sharing a fun experience for both you and your employees. Letting others see your passion will breed the same passion in them.
5) Encourage Others to Share their Research
As you lead by example, others within your organization will be inspired to do their own research. Foster this type of organizational culture by encouraging them to share their research with you and the rest of your team. This recognizes their hard work and allows the entire organization to benefit from the fruits of their labor.
Types of Research
In all fields of research, a distinction is made between applied and basic research.
Robert J. Sternberg writes this in “The Nature of Cognition:
“Basic research is said to need no motivation but intellectual curiosity. What one hopes to gain by it is a better understanding of some aspect of the universe. In contrast, applied research typically connotes research undertaken for the express purpose of solving, or helping to solve, some specific practical problem.”
For the purposes of improving leadership and company culture, both applied and basic research are valuable, and you should not limit yourself to one or the other.
Expecting Great Results
In today’s fast-paced business environment, we don’t have time to do anything that doesn’t offer some kind of reward. While both basic and applied research can be intrinsically satisfying, there are also external rewards.
Once you have established a culture of research within your organization, you will start to see some amazing benefits:
- Your staff will be energized, and productivity will improve as a result of effective leadership and an enhanced culture.
- Applied research can lead to improved processes and more organizational efficiency as it’s applied to solving a specific problem within the organization.
- Improved productivity will lead to higher revenues and a better quality of work.
- When employees feel encouraged to better themselves and share their experiences, the resulting positive culture will improve employee morale.
- A positive company culture is contagious and can be felt by customers, suppliers, and stakeholders.
A Great Price!
The best thing about improving leadership and company culture through research is that it’s virtually free.
The biggest cost is time, but there’s no doubt that doing something that can raise employee morale, strengthen your organization’s image, improve productivity and efficiency, and boost revenues is time well spent.
So, are you spending the right amount of time doing research at your business or organization? And are you including others to do the kind of research that will translate to the bottom-line? What steps can you take now to build a culture that includes gathering, sharing, and fostering research and results in a positive way? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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