Category Archives: leadership

Crossing the Internal Chasm in Corporate Innovation

There is a huge noise around what companies should do to find the big ideas. Compared to it, the discussion about the best way of turning those ideas into substantial businesses is almost silent. We think it is high time to change this.

Five Tips for Prioritizing Every Day

This past weekend, after finally completing the book I’ve been working on for more than 2 years (The Moral of the Story), I was looking forward to relaxing a bit with the family. However, it didn’t take long before thoughts of all the things still on my plate for the weeks ahead began causing anxiety. ...

4 Easy Ways to Retain Your Top Talent

The biggest challenge and greatest reward come from keeping the best people. Here’s how… Creating a world-class team is tough enough but keeping the team together, especially when you’re growing a company, is one of the greatest challenges you will face. One of the cornerstones of the success of my first Inc. 500 company was ...

Why Agile Learners are Ideal for Innovation

Agility holds a special interest for me. I named my consulting business Agility Innovation Specialists and constantly am looking to emphasize that agility is really important to managing innovation. Today, I share an article by the Korn Ferry Institute and my top line thoughts as important for advocacy of innovation.

Five Innovation Lessons from 3M

3M is an iconic innovative company. Although mostly known for “sticky and scratchy things” (post-its and sandpaper), 3M have over 55,000 products, releasing 25 new products per week and had over 3700 global patents granted in 2016. Over 90,000 employees, 200 manufacturing plants and 86 labs are all focused on progressing 3M’s innovation agenda, but ...

A Crash Course on Leadership

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Here's pretty much everything you need to know about being a good leader -- whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the Director of a 5-person non-profit. Ready?

Connect: If you want to lead people, you will need to begin by connecting with them, as in develop some kind of trusting relationship. No one is going to follow a leader they haven't bonded with. You may get compliance. You may even get cooperation. But you won't get commitment. What can you do to more powerfully connect with the people you are working with?

Enable: The key to being a successful leader is finding a way to empower the people who have been attracted to your project. If people are intrinsically motivated and have room to move, they will create magic. If not, they will merely go through the motions. How can you enable the people you are working with to be self-starting and inspired to give their best?

Listen You might be the leader, but that does not mean that you know everything. Indeed, you will need to learn a lot if you expect to succeed in your leadership role. The simplest way to learn is to listen. Identify the people who know something you don't and listen to them. And, even if you think you know more than others, listen anyway. If people are going to give their best, they need to know that someone is listening. And that someone is you. What can you do, this week, to become a better listener?

Respect: No matter what role anyone in your organization or volunteer group is playing, they are a human being first. And human beings have a gigantic need to be respected. Not just for what they do, but for who they are... and how they feel... and what ideas they are bringing to the table. In what ways can you express your respect for the people you are leading? Cue Aretha Franklin.

Illustration: gapingvoid

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Hire the Best People with These 6 Interview Questions

There’s no lack of sources for canned interview questions. A quick Google search on the phrase interview questions turns up about 20 million hits! Good luck with that. In 30 years of interviewing people for roles in fast-paced startup cultures, I’ve come to realize that the vast majority of standard interview questions are useless. Yes, I ...

When Should You Pull the Plug on an Innovation Project?

History skews our perception of possibility. It’s easy to forget that man’s great achievements were mere “mights” for those on the other side of the present. Take the Apollo 11 moon landing. Retold today, that “one giant leap for mankind” was but a series of surefooted steps taken by America’s scientists and engineers. Conquering the ...