Every leader needs to come up with ideas that will separate their companies from the crowd. And to do things that your competitors don’t, you need to see things that other people miss. Find ways to expose yourself to new ways of thinking. For example, go on a business field trip and spend time as a customer — of your company’s products or another’s. Look at how employees serve people, where bureaucracy gets in the way, and whether there are opportunities to improve. You might also consider swapping jobs for a day with a counterpart from a different industry. Notice how the other company approaches engagement, motivation, and communication. What can you learn? And if you can’t leave the office, try a simple perspective-swapping exercise: Pretend you’re the CEO of a leading company, and adopt the mindset of that leader. If you were Tim Cook, for example, how would you tackle Apple’s largest strategic problems? What does that tell you about how to tackle your own?
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