This interesting article describes a few lessons on how students learn to create an environment where innovation thrives. Being intellectually curious is crucial in that perspective. Exploring for the information you need and connecting with people who can guide you in learning essential skills is important. This doesn’t only apply to being innovative, also to being a leader. What are the values and behaviours of leaders who are responsible for big innovations that disrupt?
When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operation Task Force in 2004 to lead change management, he had no way of knowing what he was in for. The seasoned veteran—a four-star general with more than three decades of service in the Army—soon realized he had the nearly insurmountable task of fighting an enemy (Al Qaeda) that was both a chameleon and formidable.
While the U.S. had the organization, technology, and strategic know-how to defeat any foe, the ability of the enemy to change tactics and move easily across and through difficult terrain—often blending into crowds or staying well-concealed in caves or mountains—resulted in McChrystal re-thinking the way the U.S. Joint Forces and its support staff operated.
The resulting change amounts to one of the greatest undertakings any organization has ever endeavored to accomplish, and it provides a veritable playbook for how change management can be done successfully by organizations of any size.
“We had to unlearn a great deal of what we thought we knew about how war—and the world—worked,” writes McChrystal, now retired, author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For A Complex World. “We had to tear down familiar organizational structures and rebuild them along completely different lines, swapping our sturdy architecture for organic fluidity, because it was the only way to confront a rising tide of complex threats.”
Though the theater might have been war, the language sounds a lot like that used for business, doesn’t it?
10 do’s and don’ts for leadership success
Do you know who you are, what you believe and why you believe it? Are you able to be yourself in any given situation? Recently I read an article that contained a nice comparison for leaders that are facing their greatest challenge, namely integrating their personal and work lives:
Think of your life as a house. Can you knock down the walls between the rooms and be the same person in each of them?”
It takes a lot of courage to be a visionary, to walk your talk every step of the way. Especially when you still need to build your follower base. How can you find the inspiration to make an impact in the world as an authentic leader? Don’t strive to achieve success in tangible performances that are recognised in the external world. Strive for significance. Make a difference with your contribution: constantly build legacies by adding deep value to everyone you deal with. This is what makes good performers great leaders. Therefore self-awareness is a vital part of successful leadership.
Here are some principles that evolved from the values that I have ranked during my leadership journey.
In today’s dynamic business environment, every organisation must continuously change to stay competitive. How do you maintain the advantage on your competitors? If you can’t make it as a market leader, make sure you at least stay on par with competitors. How? It starts by thinking tactically and strategically from an innovative angle. You are never alone in an ecosystem. Competitors, customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders, they are all influenced by the way you act and the other way around. The dynamics of the environment that surrounds your business should be defining how you set up your processes. This ecosystem requires you to clearly position yourself. As an innovative business you should outline who you want to be and define how leading you want your role to be in the market. Looking at the innovation culture you want to build, what place in the ecosystem will suit your business best?
So much has been said and written about leadership, leaders and their (expected) performance. In this blog I’m not specifically referring to executives, but to anyone in the workforce; managers, employees and self-employed professionals. What about them? Well, how do they manage their self-leadership? Nowadays we have to live up to fairly high standards. Are they that high? Let’s keep that open for discussion. I think we experience them high level, when in fact they are just different due to the continuous change and the fast moving technology. Agility is something a lot of people have a hard time dealing with, so they are tempted to take the easy road. People have the tendency to constantly demand and forget that performing is what they are hired for from the start. Since when are accountability and performance optional? Why do we accept neglectful behaviour from ourselves to begin with?