Seasoned Leaders: Keep It Fresh!

by  Jennifer V. Miller  |  Leadership Development

When’s the last time you attended a workshop or a conference?  Did you experience what I call the “Knew That/Do That” Phenomenon?  Meaning—that at some point during the event, you experienced the reaction of “I already knew that” or “I already do that”.  For those of us who are (ahem) “seasoned” professionals, this is a familiar feeling. Yet, my experience also has shown me that the most energized, productive, well-seasoned professionals are the ones who routinely show up for conferences, take a front row seat and actively participate.  Sure, they’ve probably heard it all before, but still, they manage to glean some new nugget, some interesting twist of information to consider. They acknowledge the Knew That/Do That sensation and then move on.

People of character don’t whine about having “seen it all”. They don’t gripe about how boring the presentation is, or that “we’ve already tried that before”. They’re intellectually curious. They’re positive in their mindset. They’re constantly seeking to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey calls it (from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

Knowing that many of the members of the Lead Change group are practicing leaders in organizations, I’d love to hear from you:

  • How do you stay “fresh” with your leadership approach?
  • How do you avoid the doldrums and strive for continuous improvement?
  • How do you foster this approach in your contributors?
What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About The Author

Articles By jennifer-miller
Jennifer V. Miller is a leadership development consultant whose writing and digital training materials help business professionals better lead themselves and others towards greater career success.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Tristan Bishop  |  09 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Hi Jennifer, thank you for sharing this!

I approach this by staying in constant communication with the core community. I find that they are an endless source of inspiration. As I hear about the daily obstacles the are going through (and going over and around) it motivates me to find new ways to lead and serve.

So, in short, while I receive tremendous instruction from other leaders, I find it almost more important that I remain connected to those on the front lines.

Mary C Schaefer  |  09 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Hi Jennifer. You remind me of a pithy phrase I heard at a workshop once, “If you’re green, you’ll grow and if you’re ripe, you’ll rot.” It got my attention.

Jennifer  |  09 Sep 2010  |  Reply


Very smart to “check in” with those you serve– it helps you stay relevent.

Jennifer  |  09 Sep 2010  |  Reply


Even though I’ve been around awhile, that saying is new to me. Thanks!

Lori Meyer  |  09 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

If my reaction to a conference session is “been there, done that,” I find that a good challenge is to try to state, in my own words, what I THINK I know about the topic being presented. If I can do this, I often find out that

— No, I didn’t already know that.

— I knew that, but I have a different slant on it. What can I contribute to this conversation?

— I knew that, but many others didn’t, so no harm done to me — and others are learning now, just as I did previously.

— I knew that, but is there something that’s preventing me from getting a new perspective from this presenter?

Jennifer V. Miller  |  10 Sep 2010  |  Reply


What a fantastic amplification of my Knew That/Do That model. Thanks so much for sharing!

Jennifer V. Miller  |  10 Sep 2010  |  Reply


Linda Naiman (@lindanaiman) RT’d this blog post, then asked how *I* keep it fresh. Well, it’s too long for 140, so here goes my “extended tweet”. . .

I spend a lot of time in my car traveling to client appointments, ferrying kids and doing errands. One of my greatest sources of new ideas and fresh perspective is radio broadcasts, particularly those of NPR. If I hear something that sparks my curiosity, I’ll send myself a quick email reminder using my Droid phone. (AFTER I’ve parked the car). It’s a great way to stay up on recent news stories, newly published books and any other array of News I Can Use.

Thanks for continuing the convo, Linda!

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