I was at the Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference in Harrogate. It was the first time I had been as a delegate, and I found it fascinating. I really enjoyed the plenary sessions and workshops I attended, as well as the time to socialize with a range of people in the housing sector.
One of the statements which stayed with me was made by the head of the Audit Commission, who said “It's not ok to be just ok. " This was said in the context of needing to create a culture which is open to new ideas and constructively challenges company thinking.
"It's not ok to be just ok" struck me as a fundamental principle for everyone in every job - but it isn't. It is difficult to support challenging what you do without losing focus, but no business grows without it.
So how do you do it? Try eliminating phrases and thoughts which keep you inside your current limits. Step outside by inviting people from other departments - or your customers! - to your next meeting. Have brainstorms or mindmaps around what would be the ideal. Don't worry that it isn't. The idea is to focus on what would be the ideal; the next step is working out how to get there. This is why having your customers or colleagues involved is so important. You need them to mount a successful constructive challenge to how things are done.
I know you'll find that liberating the thoughtful creativity within you staff, colleagues, suppliers and customers will move you business to the next level.
Beth Peakall is MD of TCLuk Training http://www.tcluk.com and TCLuk Housing http://www.tclukhousing.co.uk one of the UK's leading housing consultancies.