5 Keys to Being a Successful Pattern Breaker


“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”
Chip Heath and Dan Heath

If you are in leadership one of your foundational tools to gain and keep alignment is communication through words and actions. This is easily said and great communication takes a thoughtful and fresh approach. To do this kind of alignment and communication, a leader must be a pattern breaker.

Here are 5 keys to breaking patterns to create new pathways to success:

1. Switch Your Audience – as a leader or executive, others will search you out. These individuals usually search you out because of your role, your message, and their desire to align with your vision and goals. Be wise, and search out those who are quietly doing strong work and don’t search you out. Connect with them and invite them to participate in your meetings and brainstorming sessions. Watch what happens when you start engaging these kind, thoughtful, and astute team members.

2. Don’t Buy Your Press – the higher you get in the organization the less people tell you the truth. The more successful your company is the less people “will let you know when the emperor/empress is not wearing clothes.” Connect with those on the front line of your organization to understand their perspective of the messages and goals.

3. Shake It Up – each day do something different in your daily pattern. If you always come in the front door, come in the back; learn about your organization with new eyes. Complete your meetings in half the time. Share a story about a company or individual that achieved an unusual outcome.

4. Ask for Directions – sometimes it may seem unclear about what is the right next step. Ask others for their input, their ideas, and their experience. Ask those you normally don’t speak with and gain their view. Each conversation will expand you and as you expand, so to do others.

5. Don’t Think, Just Do – you know what the pattern is that does not serve you or does not serve others. Define a new pattern, a new practice and just start. Don’t seek to be perfect, seek to learn and be imperfect. This freedom to try, apply and adjust is the beginning of new motivation and growth. Trust the journey and be open to new results.

As a leader it is critical that you change and grow, because as you shift so to do others. Your ability to move outside your comfort zone will open new options and insights as you lead yourself and others forward.