Humans are creatures of habit, and our approach to solving problems is no different. We tend to attack every problem in familiar ways, without taking the time or making the effort to consider creative options. The tracks of our minds are well grooved. Effective leaders recognize the hard work and heavy lifting involved with finding creative solutions and strive to push their teams out of those grooves.
I've always enjoyed time-travel stories. What if in business, we could travel ahead in time to see our mistakes and then go back and correct them and change the future for the better? While Einstein and others suggest it is impossible, I beg to differ. In the case of leading change, we can travel through [...]
Our work lives are punctuated by awkward moments thrust upon us at various points in time. Any first day at a new job. Every last day at an old job. The day you learn your boss was fired. You liked this boss. Meeting your new boss at the firm buying your company. The point in [...]
It’s a fascinating time to study leaders. Remember, you can learn from poor examples as well as great ones. I keep a dedicated file in my memory bank labeled, “Don’t Do That—Do This.” Recently, I’m running short on memory for storage. For me, the counter-balance to the overload of news from and about bloviating, gesticulating [...]
Our reflex action is to follow conventional thinking and apply accepted processes to solving problems at work. Leaders looking to spur innovation have a different approach. They think and do differently. They understand that every problem offers an opportunity to spur creativity and catalyze innovation. Thinking and doing differently is their mantra, as they deliver oxygen to their firms in the form of much needed innovation. If your firm or team is suffocating, it's time for you to think and do differently.
Yesterday's models of managing and leading emphasized coordination and control. Both are in opposition to the needs of today's organizations for ideas and approaches that blow up traditional ways of doing things. A core job as a leader today is to promote more creative disobedience.
Our leadership and management focus on productivity ignores the critical need for us to move strategically. For most of us, strategy is a series of incremental moves around a long-standing theme. Today's world demands that we find a way to punctuate equilibrium or we risk going out of business one efficient day at a time.
The world is filled with uncertainty and ambiguity, yet we teach our children, students and team members to work according to the rules and to color within the lines. Instead, we should teach our teams to leverage ambiguity by writing their own rules in pursuit of a shared goal. And effective leaders understand that action begets action and ultimately insight, even in the most uncertain circumstances. Sometimes, you just have to "paint the wall" while searching for the next step.
Energy always flows from the source to the sink. In your hot water heater, the water is the sink. Eventually, the consumption of hot water is capable of exceeding the capacity of the source. The same applies in our professional and leadership lives. It's essential to identify and eliminate the heat sinks in our daily lives to free capacity to focus on the work that matters. Here are 12 ideas to help you with this important mission:
I admire people who are hungry for success and willing to work hard to get it. However, for all of us, the road ahead to success as we envision it is often murky. Sometimes it is good to suspend looking to far ahead and to focus on succeeding in the here and now and simply put one foot in front of the other. The future has a way of creating opportunities for those who succeed wildly now.