October 2015 Newsletter
What’s going on in the innovative leader’s mind?
When thinking about an Innovative Leaders mind-set, what else is going on inside the leaders mind?
I started to wonder what might be the top five characteristics for leaders with an innovative mind set, so just for a moment I thought about being innovative and some themes emerged: stillness, daydreaming, sketching for the mind, lot of questions. So for me, being curious, bouncing back and being flexible and being my true self come to the fore.
So how would you rate yourself on having a innovative leaders mindset say on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very well? Rate yourself against some of these key indicators:
1. Curiosity the ability to explore without judgment and preconceived ideas
2. Encouragement the ability to nurture the new and small seed of an idea
3. Resilience the ability to keep going, viewing mistakes as learning
4. Flexibility the ability to be agile and adapt to the current and future demands
5. Honesty the ability to be authentic and true to yourself and others.
The Innovative Leaders mind-set – what’s at the corner of the page? What’s just within your memory but not fully formed?
When thinking about this article I became drawn to a book Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind by Nancy Kline ISBN-13: 978-0706377453 on my bookshelf that seemed to be summarizing many of the areas that came to mind when pondering about an innovative leadership mind-set. In particular, many of the thinking principles, for example:
1. Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other
2. Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of celebration it is also a thing of the heart
3. A thinking environment is a set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves with rigour and imagination, courage and grace
4. Listening of this calibre ignites the human mind
5. Between you and a wellspring of good ideas is a limiting assumption. This assumption can be removed with incisive questions
6. Incisive questions increase the functional intelligence of human beings.
Sounds like some reflective coaching is in order to help tease out what has not quite yet been discovered, so to quote Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Vision, Mission, Ambition and Role
So, if leadership is ‘the capability to express a vision, influence others to achieve results, encourage team cooperation, and be an example’, as Robert Dilts says, then an Innovative Leader’s mind-set encourages what’s not been tried, what else is possible, and so by reviewing your biggest success and pinpointing the smallest steps that created it you can develop a model for success.
Dilts refers to these factors as:
What do you want to create in the world through you but that is beyond you? What services, benefits and contributions do you want to make to your customers, society, the environment, etc.?
What is your unique contribution to making the vision happen?
What are the special resources, capabilities and actions that you will develop, mobilize and apply to reach the vision?
What type of status and performance do you want to achieve with respect to yourself and others (stakeholders, competitors,etc.)?
What type of individual (or organization) do you need to be in order to reach the status and level of performance you want to achieve?
We can consider the mind-set aspect of the Innovative Leader’s mind-set by looking into the latest research and thinking in Neuroscience. Neuroscience is concerned with improving understanding of the brain and how it works, how we process information and the reason we make some basic cognitive mistakes (limitations), why change is so hard and how to better manage change, why we react negatively in certain situations and how emotions can be better regulated.
The brain is actually never at rest but actively processing and internalizing existing knowledge (to make sense of the world). When you stop processing external information, quality internal processing can take place. For example, daydreaming, envisioning the future, retrieving memories, and gauging others’ perspectives.
Leaders are like icebergs (learning is what lies beneath the surface and much is hidden).
What we can see (above the surface):
traditions, symbols, artifacts, behaviours, customs, and symbols.
What we can’t see (below the water line):
perceptions, world views, attitudes, motives, values, beliefs, thoughts.
With the ever evolving nature of business, leadership and the work environment that we live in, the need to be more innovative and understand how we think and improve our own thinking processes are ever present.
I hope this article has intrigued you, made you think, want to know more So if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch and share some insight and discover how to release innovation in you.
September 2015 newsletter
Innovative leadership for everyone?
When does innovative leadership start? Firstly let’s explore what it is. Having googled it a bit, asked a few leaders and experts and generally had a look around about what’s out there, what have I discovered so far?
Innovation leadership is a philosophy (thinking) and technique (acting) that combines different leadership styles to influence (leaders and followers) employees to produce creative ideas, products, and services. This leads to greater adaptability, agility and strategies for the future as well as for the now.
So where does it come from?
Having the right climate (culture, context)
Having the right drive, push / pull
Having the right people
Having some time to reflect and think.
Some of the major theories applied to innovative leadership
Innovation leadership has roots in path-goal theory and leader-member exchange theory. Wolfe (1994), Sarros, Cooper, & Santora, (2008) realized that organizational culture is crucial for success.
So, let’s focus on the practice and how to do it.
Protect the mavericks
Allow for dissent
Have patience and drive
What holds it back?
Leaders being in charge; old command style
Leaders being autocratic
Leaders being obsessed with numbers
Leaders only wanting success for themselves; the self interest is the only interest syndrome
Okay, so what makes it work?
Leaders who have a long term perspective
Having the courage to fail and learn from it
Leaders who work with the team
Leaders who motivate through coaching and mentoring
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent
Leaders wanting everyone to succeed
Leaders who have a passion for innovation
Leaders who innovate with their head (thinking) heart (feelings) and hands (actions)
Innovative leaders are able to both supply the vision and create the plan that takes the organization forward. Sometimes it’s the organization itself that is the greatest barrier to innovative thinking and acting.
From the CBI publication Excellence in Service Innovation, Fujitsu moved from technological solutions to a business based outcomes orgnaisation. The company strategy and culture focused on looking at future trends to reduce costs, including its customers in its innovation quest.
Organisations have taken very different approaches to innovation. Microsoft and Google have taken an in-house approach led from within (8 Pillars of Innovation), while My Space and You Tube (prior to its takeover) had a community driven approach.
“The best organizations understand design and do not see innovation as something happening in a laboratory on its own” Joe Heapy, Co Founder and Director of Engine.
The thinking skills for innovation are much more about the abstract, multi-screen breakthrough, diversity and the ultimate goal thinking, as outlined by Valeri Souchkov in her book “Power thinking for innovative leadership.”
So, if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch or come along to the Innovative Leadership Mind-set session in Bristol on the 28th October to gain and share some insights and discover how to release innovation in you.I am attending with some of my colleagues from Smart Coaching and Training Ltd
The Innovative Mind-set
Smart Coaching and Training Ltd. – Ross Nichols
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Smart Coaching & Training Ltd excel at providing bespoke business support, coaching, training, mentoring and consultancy services and resources to business leaders, entrepreneurs, organisations and individuals looking to grow and transform. Business leaders we have supported have transformed their enterprises, grasped opportunities, identified success elements, developed an innovative mindset and achieved momentum in their business growth.
I hope this newsletter has provoked some thought. For those who want to be provoked further, I am very happy to help you along the way. Feel free to contact on 01793 882058 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
“Life is not about the amount of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”
I have always been affected by this sentence, because it is those moments that we remember and and that we take with us. It suggests that quality is important over quantity that our lives can be defined by what we leave behind, by what we give away and by what we will stand for.
For me it also suggests you can always be surprised, moved and changed in a moment. A child’s first step, a great exam success, a sunset, a flowing river, a fear overcome and a life enjoyed by living.
To quote Nick Kemp “you are only a thought away from feeling differently”
We have the ability to be endlessly creative and harness our whole thinking sometimes what we need is a moment
To build your moments watch out for more news themes and events