Today is part two of a series about nine ingredients that cannot be separated from quality leadership. Like Siamese twins joined at the hip, these qualities are a natural part of healthy leaders’ lives. Any leader without them is incomplete or unhealthy. Since my blog posts are about leading the next generation, I’m hopeful these short articles will help you deepen your effectiveness as a leader, parent, coach or teacher.
Today, let’s examine the ingredient of innovation. This little characteristic cannot be separated from leadership today. By definition, leaders go first. If they don’t they aren’t really the leader. The person who did go first is leading. Others are following or managing. Because our world is rapidly changing, leaders must stay on the edge of innovation. If we don’t for long, we fall behind and fail to lead our people into new territory. Howard Gardner has defined leadership as the capacity to continually create.
In our lifetime, we’ve seen “creators” who paved the way for others in their fields…
- Howard Schultz redefined how coffee would be consumed by creating Starbucks.
- Bernie Marcus and Art Blank redefined hardware stores by creating Home Depot.
- A team of Canadian performers redefined circus acts by creating Cirque de Soleil.
- Mark Zuckerberg redefined how we connect socially by creating Facebook.
- Steve Jobs and Bill Gates redefined how we communicate by creating Apple and Microsoft.
Where are you leading through innovation? When was the last time you did something for the first time? Are you thinking new thoughts? Are you creating anything for anyone? Do you pave the way for others in a way that makes them better?