Overcome Knowledge Gaps By Becoming “Unstuck”

knowledge gap

Over the past year, change has rapidly been thrust upon us at an unheard-of rate -and it’s not that there’s a lack of information out there – in fact, there is SO much information available to us, many of us are in a state of decision fatigue. In short, we’re “stuck”. Information overload creates “paralysis by analysis,” and that sense of overwhelm can leave us with an inability to pivot when we need to most. Happily, in this episode, we are joined by Craig Lemasters, CEO of GXG consultancy and the author of Unstuck: How to Unlock and Activate the Wisdom of Others, Here, he'll explain:

  • What it means to be "stuck";
  • How knowledge gaps impact our ability to succeed in new ventures; 
  • How COVID-19 has impacted our tendency to become stuck; and 
  • Steps you can take to become "unstuck"!
unstuck

Craig Lemasters

   Leadership  

“The spirit of reciprocity is alive and well -- if you ask people in the right way, in the right organized, thoughtful way, they will share every ounce of their wisdom with you."

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


The Origins of Unstuck

  • Mr. Lemasters worked the same job for 27 years -- much of what is in the book, he learned on the job.
  • As a result of his work experience, he met many wise people who taught him important lessons. 
  • Unstuck is the product of being motivated to share what he learned.
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What It Means To Be Stuck

  • “Stuck” is what happens when you have a destination, a goal, but aren’t getting there quickly enough.
  • Becoming “stuck” doesn’t happen because you’re a bad person, or because you’re not trying or working hard enough.
  • “We all get stuck on hard stuff.”
  • “Stuck” Symptoms include:
    • Struggling to find a destination;
    • Getting far too many people involved in a new idea or project;
    • Bringing in outside help without any movement toward the destination;
    • The process becomes a circle and no progress is made.

Stuck Examples

  • Kodak
    • Had an opportunity to take the leap into the “new stuff” (digital photography), but lacked the humility to turn to something new. 
    • The disappointing thing at Kodak is they actually has the knowledge and experience in-house, to take on digital technologies, but they didn’t utilize it.
  • Blockbuster
    • Blockbuster’s failures came when a new model of digital movies came about leading to media giants we know today as Netflix, Hulu, Disney + and more.
  • Taxi Industry
    • The taxi business has been in decline for years now due to the emergence of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.

The Importance of Humility

  • The core of getting stuck is not having enough humility or not even realizing that we should have humility.
  • We typically become stuck when we move from the core focus of a company to new ventures and don’t have the wisdom to move forward.
  • Wisdom is the combination of both knowledge and experience, and when embarking on a new project outside of the typical business of a company, both knowledge and experience tend to decrease exponentially.
  • “Are we humble enough to be candid that we don’t have the knowledge and experience to begin this new thing?”
  • There is nothing to be ashamed of about being humble -- in fact, to succeed, leaders must maintain a high humility quotient.

The Impact of COVID-19

  • The global pandemic has caused almost every industry to become stuck, in one way or another.
  • A recent survey stated that 79% of leaders now say that they don't have the skills and support to grow their organization after the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • Such a high number on a survey is an indicator of the growing sense of humility leaders are showing during these unprecedented times.
  • What got us to the point we achieved, pre-pandemic, may not be enough to guide us past the pandemic.
  • If companies’ respective business models are not at least somewhat reinvented to drive progress out of and past the pandemic, many companies are going to be left behind quickly. 

Becoming “Unstuck”

  • The first step to breaking free and becoming unstuck is to acknowledge the issue and, as mentioned previously, to show some humility toward moving forward. 
  • Leaders should utilize the “ecosystem” exercise: 
    • This exercise is ideally performed in a low-tech meeting setting, using whiteboards or flipcharts. Your flipchart or a whiteboard is your ecosystem;
    • Draw a bubble in the center of your ecosystem. This bubble represents your destination (your new venture, product, or goal).
    • Draw 2-3 additional ecosystem bubbles. These represent the “wisdom imperatives” (skills, ideals, experiences) you’ll need in order to reach your destination.
    • Break down each bubble by examining the impact that acquiring each wisdom imperative will have on your team and business.
    • Self-score your ecosystem. This scoring system can be represented as a percentage and will help realize the likelihood that destination will be reached. This step allows leaders to gauge their progress and will highlight problem areas that are causing the progress toward the destination to stall.
  • Your ecosystem bubbles literally “connect the dots” from your wisdom to the destination, giving you an optimized, clear path to success.
  • Connection is the “secret sauce” of becoming unstuck: being humble with the right people who can fill your wisdom gap is the only way to go from being stuck to reaching your destination 
  • You become unstuck by interjecting wisdom into the conversation. 
  • Hiring wisdom is one option, but only if those hires are not only using their wisdom but also sharing it was others. However: "It's not practical to think that on every topic where we're deficient in wisdom, we can just go hire the best of the best people. You can't do that and you don't have to do that. The spirit of reciprocity is alive and well -- if you ask people in the right way, in the right organized, thoughtful way, they will share every ounce of their wisdom with you."

Avoiding Becoming Stuck

  • Talk about humility and be candid with your team;
  • Define your destination early and often and discuss it with your team;
  • Create your ecosystem and score it.

GXG

  • Started by Mr. Lemasters in 2016.
  • Everything GXG does is based on the methodologies discussed in this episode.
  • Two core product offerings
    • Advisory Boards: Solve the corporate stuck issues
    • Impact Coaching: Individual leadership coaching that uses the same philosophies as the Advisory Boards for corporate issues

Craig Lemasters Backstory

Contact

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About the Author Jacqueline Gregory

As a creative, persuasive communications professional with extensive experience guiding projects from concept through completion Jacqui has produced custom communications for some of the world's best known brands. Producing ProjectHR has been one of her favorite ways to engage and delight HR and Labor Relations professionals!

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