Marry Innovation and Leadership
An Innovative Leader influences by engaging Self, culture and systems equally.
Lleadership and innovation are innately connected, and share a deep commonality with our innate capacity for growth. This approach allows us to ground and articulate them together from a place intrinsic to our own basic experiences, rather than imitating techniques that take us away from that basic intelligence. Because knowledge is internal, dynamic personal development required to lead and create transformative change can become an actuality.
Many conventional applications of leadership and innovation often prove vague or partial, and even problematic in real world scenarios. For example, if the leadership team of a struggling organization drives initiatives that focus solely on innovations to incentives, products, and services without also advancing strategic purpose, culture and team cohesiveness, they will ultimately miss the greater potential to create a meaningful turnaround. Productivity and system improvements are undoubtedly critical, but so are employee experience and team engagement. Innovating products and improving functionality at the expense of also creating a better environment and supportive culture may appear sufficient for the short term, but will eventually produce lopsided decision-making and shortsighted leadership with lasting adverse consequences.
Knowing that the future of organizations is irreversibly tied to a world of erratic change, we can no longer afford to improve our systems and offerings without equally advancing our leadership capacity. Leadership empathy and the ability to inspire cultural alignment, along with other important leadership activities, will make a significant impact on your organization and must be implemented as shrewdly as strategic planning.
Redefine how we see Leadership and Innovation along with our view of how they work together as a cohesive whole. Leadership and innovation are innately connected, and share a deep commonality with our innate capacity for growth. This approach allows us to ground and articulate them together from a place intrinsic to our own basic experiences, rather than imitating techniques that take us away from that basic intelligence. Because knowledge is internal, dynamic personal development required to lead and create transformative change can become an actuality.
Though we are, in a sense, defining innovative leadership very broadly, we are also making a distinct point. We are saying that the core aspects that comprise your experience, whether personal, cultural, behavioral or systematic, are inextricably interconnected. If you affect one, you affect them all.
Innovative leadership is based on the recognition that those four dimensions exist simultaneously in all experiences, and already influence every interactive experience we have. So if, for example, you implement a strategy to realign a company’s value system over the next five years, you will also affect personal motivations, company culture, and behavioral outcomes. Influencing one aspect—in this case, functional systems—affects the other aspects, since all four mutually shape that given occasion. To ignore the mutual interplay of any one of the four dimensions misses the full picture. You can only build innovative leadership by addressing reality in a comprehensive fashion.
Innovative leadership grows naturally and can be accelerated through the use of a structured process involving your own self-exploration, allowing you to authentically enhance your leadership beyond tactical execution.
The overwhelming focus of today’s organizational changes is on system functionality. Though necessary, it is only part of your total picture. Being guided by more strategically inclusive decisions may be the difference between managing failure and creating tangible success. Your leadership must consider a more balanced definition of innovation that comprehensively aligns vision, teams and systems, and integrates enhanced leadership perspective with system efficiency.
This balanced approach to leadership and innovation is transformative for both you and your organization, and can help you respond more effectively to challenges within and outside the enterprise. Innovative Leadership gives you the means to successfully adapt in ways that allow optimal performance, even within an organizational climate fraught with continual change and complexity. Conceptually, it synthesizes models from developmental, communications, and systems theory, delivering better insight than singular approaches. Innovative Leadership gives you the capacity to openly recognize and critically examine aspects of yourself, as well as your organization’s culture and systems, in the midst of any circumstance.
We are working across environments.
1. In a university setting - several professors are using the Innvoative Leadership Fieldbook as a text to introduce these updated concepts about leadership to graduate students - many of them mid career leaders
2. In business settings - organizations are integrating these ideas into their mentoring and leadership development programs so the next round of leaders will be equipped to step forward in a way that supports the changing world. We have created a series of workbooks (2 published and 2 more in process).
3. Create the "conveyor belt" of leadership development - it is insufficient to say we can just work with senior leaders - we submit that there is a call to create a leadership development system that starts with college students and takes them through the development process at different points in their careers. We are in partnership with university faculty to publish an Innovative leadership text book for college students - target 2013.
4. Continue to research and build the theories - while we think our theory is quite solid and based on research - since our premise is that leadership needs to continue to innovate - we also need to continue to innovate our work.
This hack is based on the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. I am one of the authors along with Mark Palmer. We also have workbooks. There are several other people who supported the creation of this book and they can be found in the book. This was truly an effort inspired by the best research and researchers we could find.