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Will innovation really happen? You only need to answer one question.

How are you leading innovating in your own personal life?

innovation leadership development

The conversation on innovation seems to be everywhere.  It is clear that it has become table stakes in today’s marketplace to survive.  And it comes in all shapes and sizes from next generation to game changing and market disruptive innovation.

I had the good fortune of speaking at The Innovations Masters Class sponsored by The Conference Board.  The focus of the conference was to advance the understanding of innovation.  The attendees were from around the globe and gathered in a two day intensive look at the innovation process, the organization dynamics and risks, the impact on the people and finally the role a leader plays in advancing innovation.

As I gathered my notes from the session, I highlighted the TWO big take-aways for any leader:

First, the pace of the marketplace is changing how organizations build their capabilities and their capacity to be agile.  No one will be able to do it all.  Efforts must be focused to build strength in strategic partnerships since it is fraught with internal tension.  The focus must move to making something greater for both organizations that is a compelling point of difference.

Second, judging the success of innovation inside an organization can be linked directly to the support and engagement of the leader to drive change.  In fact, you only need to ask one question to have your answer.  Ask the leader to give you examples of how they are innovating in their personal life?  If they can’t give you one, innovation will forever be what everyone else does.  The minute it requires a change to the leader’s way of life, it will die.

As I have reflected on my own experiences I could see the evidence.  It applies whether you are serving on the board, inside an organization, a player on a team or evaluating a future investment.  In fact, I also found it true for me personally.  To reach your full potential, both must be present to win.

As we all work to be better leaders of ourselves and others, it is critically important we make the commitment to lead with this lens.  This starts with the intentional focus on driving innovation for us personally before we can expect to have a broader impact on others.  It helps us stay fresh, disciplined in being a student always and keeps our curiosity and willingness to share alive.

How are you leading innovation in your personal life?




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