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This is a guest post by Paul Smith.

Paul is Executive Director at YPO (www.ypo.co.uk) where he looks after Procurement, Finance and IT. He is particularly interested in new technologies and their impact on business.

You can connect to him here on LinkedIn – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/pdsmith

You can also follow him on Twitter @smithfive where he is most likely tweeting about coffee.

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I decided to write this blog post on my way home from seeing The Unthanks perform. It was a wonderful gig, set in a local church with the highlight being an encore where they sang Magpie unaccompanied and off-mike.

 Going to and enjoying this gig, got me thinking about one of the key things that I try to remember in business. And that is, to always be open to new ideas and embrace people who don’t always think as you do.

You see The Unthanks are a folk band from a strong folk tradition (there was even a spot of clog dancing!) and I am not a folkie. It is not a style of music that I have ever embraced. However, one of their songs (Sea Song) came onto my radar a few years back, I loved it and so I have followed them ever since. This culminated in deciding to go and see them live.

 It’s an important lesson that there is always a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at things that might well open you up to a whole different world.

It is very tempting (and quite normal) to surround ourselves with people who are like us, people who think like us and share our points of view. But, how often do those people teach you new things? How often do they stop you in your tracks with insight that you wouldn’t have seen?

I always try to learn something new from everyone I meet. You could say that I am a bit of a magpie myself, collecting ideas that interest me regardless of where they come from. I have quite an eclectic taste in music and try to apply similar thinking to business – try something new, what’s the worst that can happen?

Diversity in the people you work with is crucial to not developing ‘group think’ and making sure that your world view is challenged. Sometimes it can be hard work, it is easier when everyone sees things the same way. But surely we are not just trying to do the easy thing. The Unthanks are proof for me, that taking a chance on embracing something that you have never tried before can pay significant benefits.