CHICAGO — The ability to love ideas is a wonderful, empowering gift.  Being able to embrace new ideas, to take delight in creative thought, is one of life’s great joys.

In my business I am fortunate to know a number of very talented senior leaders.  Without fail, the best leaders — those who achieve impressive results while earning the support of their colleagues — are the ones who love and embrace new ideas. They may not act on every new concept but they enjoy the process of developing it, debating

the merits, and determining any real value to the enterprise

In my ACHE interviewing skills presentation on Wednesday I was asked what questions they could pose to a prospective employer to get a handle on their culture.  We touched on several — how do decisions get made, what are the unwritten rules that govern behaviors, etc — but as I was reflecting on the class presentation with colleague and co-presenter Nancy Swain, I realized that how an organization embraced new ideas is another important cultural milepost. 

The best advice that I can give is to avoid being trapped in an environment which stifles creative thought. While you have to respect the culture of your employer, the ability to embrace and love ideas is the lifeblood of the future and your career success.