On the surface, you’d think that the world of leadership and management is pretty advanced and sophisticated. That leaders and managers understand and know how to inspire their people and to fully tap into their potential. Especially in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. A world so complex, that we cannot longer predict the future by past events.
And a world of business that finds it challenging to get their heads around this new world and the disruptive nature of new and innovative players such as Uber, AirBNB, eBay, etc that are turning existing industries upside down. And I am sure this is only the start!
Innovate or be Toast! CEO Commonwealth Bank
None of us is immune to this changing playing field, nor am I suggesting that it is easy to adapt to the new rules of the game. Yet ignoring it could be the beginning of the end. This is highlighted by recent comments made by Ian Narev, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Innovate or be Toast! Read more here.
So when it comes to leading and managing people and innovation for this new disruptive world many organisations and the personnel put in charge to lead in this environment are ill prepared. They are stuck in an outdated way of thinking, developed for an old world. They are set in their ways, unable to get out of their own way. Old habits die hard!
Leading Innovation in a Disruptive World requires a New Way of Thinking!
How do we create a leadership capacity and a workforce that can step outside the boundaries of conventional thinking? That has mental and behavioural flexibility? That can tap into its innate creative and innovative potential? That is willing to take risks in its thinking?
Innovation is about Culture, not Technology! General Manager, Microsoft, Slovenia & Albania
In a recent LinkedIn article penned by Robert Trnovec, the General Manager, Microsoft Slovenia & Albania he points our attention to culture when it comes to innovation in the new world. Read more here. What do many organisations focus on when thinking about innovation? They think of things to change such as technology, gadgets, products and services. And hopefully that will do the trick. Now there is nothing wrong with coming up with new technologies and it is absolutely necessary to stay current and competitive.
However, when it is driven from a place of necessity and survival it becomes a problem. Innovation requires creative thinking. And creative thinking comes from and through people. How creative are people when they operating in environments that are hierarchical and that run on fear and worry? It stifles it! It often is left to a select few in an organisation to come up with new ideas, and they are not necessarily the most creative. The rest of the workforce is kept out of the mix. That means there is a whole pool of talent and wisdom that is not tapped into.
Creativity and innovation in the new world requires fresh thought and new thinking focused on possibility and curiosity. Fresh thought comes from a quiet mind and conversation. Organisations that embrace collective thinking and collaboration across all levels don’t just survive, they thrive. They understand that technology, their products and services are only a means to end, to serve their customers better and help them to solve their problems.
Organisations that understand that provide environments where creativity and innovation can occur. They develop cultures that are driven by possibility and abundance. Where people feel involved in the process and that they are part of serving a cause. Where they are encouraged to think freely, enjoy taking part in the conversations and where they want to contribute. This comes back to the Power of Purpose at Work. If you haven’t already you can read my reflections on Purpose here.
Leading Innovation in the New World!
‘Leading Innovation = Change. Change = Relationships. Relationships = Connection!’
Creativity and innovation in the new world is about change, transformational change. Transformational change is relational. It requires leaders and managers to develop their ability to connect with their people and inspire them. That requires an understanding and awareness of their higher levels of meaning. The importance of how that meaning influences their contribution at work. Meaning drives behaviour and performance! And how to relate and lead through that what is on people’s minds.
Of course, this is a two street. To understand the dynamic of people’s minds, how it influences their behaviours and then to connect with them isn’t a mechanical process. It has to be genuine and natural. Perception is projection. If you come from a genuine place of understanding, interest, support, collaboration, etc. this will be reflected in your subtle behaviours and the energy that you project. Then people get a natural sense of connection. If it is not genuine they will smell a rat and the walls go up!
How do you get that connection?
It all starts with YOU! It starts with being human, yes I know it sounds scary. You connect from human to human. Not manager to staff or vice versa. The moment we put labels on ourselves and on people, other than that of human being, we distort our perspective of the world which we then act out through those labels. This affects the energy that we project and shifts the dynamic of the relationship that we hold with self and with others.That’s where we easily disconnect.
When you connect with your own humanness, you easily connect with other human beings. There is a deep sense of trust and a feeling of ease. The dynamic of the relationship is generally in a state flow, in the moment. And when you in a state of flow you are entering the domain of creativity and insight. Here you find fresh thought and solutions to you problems. You see your world with greater clarity.
Leading Innovation, begins with Leading Self!
Leading innovation, begins with leading self! In the way you relate to yourself and through that how you show up to play the game! How do you want show up to serve your business, your people and your customer community?
Do you genuinely want to create an organisation that drives on creativity and innovation? One that inspires its people into action and that can thrive in the complexities of the new world!
If that resonates with you and you want to know how to connect with your people and to tap into their collective wisdom read on. If not, I like to thank you and I look forward to serving you with my next reflection!
to your best
About Mike Schwarzer
Mike is a Transformation Professional and an Internationally Certified Trainer in Applied Neuro Synergy & NLP with the Global Association of Applied Neuro Synergy, GAANS. An experienced facilitator and coach, with an ability to connect and align people, he helps leaders and organisations to solve the problems that they have not been able to solve elsewhere and create the results they want to achieve.