Innovative leadership

Innovative leadership

 

Robyn Bolton draws innovation inspiration from the Princess Bride to illustrate how the innovator embarks on a hero’s journey within a corporate setting.  

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post using quotes from “Moneyball” (the movie, not the book) to describe the experience of trying to innovate within a corporate setting.

It was great fun to write, I received tons of feedback, and had many fascinating conversations (plus a fact check on the year the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino), so I started searching for other movies that inadvertently but accurately describe the journey of corporate innovators.

The Princess Bride

If you have not seen The Princess Bride, stop reading and immediately go watch it.  Seriously, there is nothing more important for you to do right now than to crawl out from the cultural rock you’ve been under since 1987 and watch this movie.

If you’re reading this, you’ve clearly watched the movie and know that it is packed with life lessons and quotable quotes.  It also captures the reality of innovation within the walls of large companies

The Beginning

“You keep using that word.  I don’t think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

A company’s focus on Innovation usually begins the moment a senior executive, usually the CEO, declares it to be a key strategic priority and promises Wall Street analysts that significant investments will be made.

It then trickles down to business units and functions, with each subsequent layer told to “be more innovative” and “come up with more innovation.”

Then, one day, the responsibility for innovation lands in someone’s lap and stays there.  To be honest, it’s usually an exciting day for the person because they’ve been asking questions, suggesting ideas, and pushing for innovation for a long time, and now the powers that be have permitted them to do something about it.  They may even have been given a title and budget specific for innovation.”

But “innovation” was never defined.

The CEO may think it is an entirely new business, something flashy and new that rivals anything coming out of Silicon Valley.

 

Key points include:

  • Defining the expectations of innovation
  • Supporters and champions
  • Courageous innovators

Read the full article, What “The Princess Bride” Teaches About the Corporate Innovation Experience, on milezero.io.

 

 

From Jared Simmons’  company blog, a post on why motherhood is a leadership development boot camp.

Motherhood builds skills that are competitive advantages in the workplace. 

“Motherhood and apple pie” are meant to evoke an image of something universally good – something everyone can agree on. But, like most things about moms, this phrase has morphed into patronizing passive aggressiveness, at its best. 

When someone at work says, “That’s just motherhood and apple pie,” what they are really saying is “That is a bunch of hot air and baloney. Where’s the real substance?” 

I don’t like idioms, but I particularly dislike this one. Motherhood is a lot of things, but it’s usually not sugary fruit melting into a flaky pastry crust. 

Motherhood is simultaneously sweet and gross. It is both life-giving and soul-crushing. It requires you to have vision, be resilient, and communicate with empathy. Motherhood is… basically, the most effective leadership training program available.  

While these skills are recognized by colleagues, they are not appropriately rewarded by leaders in the workplace. The 2019 Modern Family Index study showed that:

  • 91% of working Americans agree that working moms bring unique leadership skills (i.e., diplomacy, collaboration, calm in crisis situations, and active listening) and 
  • 89% of working Americans believe that working moms bring out the best in employees. 

 Despite this awareness, working mothers are denied advancement opportunities simply because someone at home calls them “Mom.”

 

Key points include:

  • Motherhood skills
  • Battle-tested experience
  • Creative problem solving

 

Read the full post, More than apple pie: Motherhood is a leadership development bootcamp, on outlastllc.com.

 

 

David Edelman explains how the foundations of Theater provide powerful tools for leaders to connect, motivate, and deliver during times of constant dramatic change. 

When a theater is empty, the tradition is to keep a lone bulb lit on the stage — a ghost light — really for safety, but superstitiously to keep away the bad spirits lurking in the building. Sadly, most theaters right now are lit merely by their ghost bulb, but in the absence of action on stage, I prefer to think of those bulbs as beacons to the rest of us about all that Theater provides, even when performances are temporarily suspended. 

We are in a time when the “audiences,” or customers and stakeholders, of businesses are going through constant, dramatic change, and teamwork needs to dynamically adjust, every single day, to the new realities we face. In such a climate, the foundations of Theater provide powerful tools for leaders needing to connect, motivate, and deliver under the spotlight as never before.

In the past, I have talked about the importance of thinking about great business leaders embracing a view more akin to a jazz combo leader than a classical music conductor, inspired by a seminal article by John Clarkeson, the late former CEO of the Boston Consulting Group. Set the structure, assemble great talent, keep the core rhythm going, listen constantly to each other, but let each other innovate in new directions, which if successful, the team will sense and follow. This view is a clear contrast to formally planned, rigorous planning, and leadership through the force of hierarchy.

 

Key points include:

  • Igniting passion
  • Investigating the context
  • Invite a relationship through a fitting demand

 

Read the full article, Guided by the “Ghost” Light: Tapping into Theater’s Lessons during its Absence, on LinkedIn.