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You know when you show up for the dragon tour but you get a life-altering lesson on the intrigue of ancient trash? I mean, we’ve all been there…

My family was so excited to tour Croatia’s own Diocletian’s Palace and all its GOT infamy. Dragon battles are indisputably cool.

But most of our tour was about ancient Roman trash.

Turns out there was TONS of it discovered in the palace’s basement. Like, palatial inhabitants were just dumping remnants left and right. And archaeologists from around the world have been on the excavation mission of a lifetime.

Because beyond the trivia of “what did the Romans eat for dinner on Tuesdays?” this mission has delivered fascinating insights that will fuel our future. Intel on architecture and construction. On conservation and sustainability.

An essential reminder that even in seasons of excitement — of CGI dragons duking it out in your presence — there is always value in sifting through the wisdom of the past. That intel in the rearview? It has things to teach us. Even thousands of years later.

And leaders today? We need to be honoring this practice. As we explore and imagine the role of GenAI, of virtual realities in our workplace. As we enhance our hybridness, our globalness. As we ask all the big questions of tomorrow. We have to be hunting through the piles of yesterdays for relevant wisdom.

Because our teams know stuff. They’ve done things in the past — maybe even analog things (😮) that may still have something to teach us.

As we confront the challenges we face today, there’s real value in asking our teams some reflective questions. Like…

Think back to the early days of your career — or even your time in school.

  • What were the moments in which you felt most connected to your colleagues or classmates?
  • What were the conditions or circumstances in which you learned best — had your curiosity triggered, were retaining key information and drawing new conclusions?
  • What made your collaborative efforts most successful?

Or, consider some of your earliest experiences being a consumer or a customer.

  • What made a product or a service particularly compelling or appealing to you — like, what drew you in?
  • What might someone have said or done to make you feel heard, served, delighted?
  • What made you want to share a product or service with someone else? What left a memory or impression you still carry with you

Or choose your own areas of curiosity. But just ask — openly. And listen well. Capture what people have to say. And then hunt for the insight.

I still remember the very first timeI flew on my own. I was a kid. Pretty anxious. And there was one flight attendant who showed care I still remember vividly. There are lessons I take from that experience that inform how I treat my clients all these years later.

Don’t squander lessons from the past. Ask great questions.

Wishing you wonderful adventures this summer. 🌞

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