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X marks Exploit, Y marks Explore

I am preparing a workshop for a client designed for a group of newly minted leaders. I want to demonstrate the differences between leaders and managers. However, I also want to highlight that being a leader and manager is also contextual, in certain cases we need to be more “managerial” (or theory X) in our approach while in other scenarios, we need to exercise our leadership skills (theory Y). Beyond these contextual situations, we must be aware that we manage things, but we lead people. Furthermore, when we operate in a world where both the problem and solution are known, management is useful. However, when we live in an unpredictable world, our inner leader must emerge.


Innovation Improvisation: Jazz Hands

In Innovation work, it is no different.

We must have extensive knowledge of our industry, of adjacent arenas. We must read widely and eclectically. We must dream big and experiment small.

A huge mistake in innovation work is to hire someone in an innovation role who is all chaos and no order. If you do have an innovator who lacks discipline, then it is important to support them with a do-er. While vision without action is a daydream, action without vision is a nightmare.

Talent without discipline is not enough.

Wonder without rigour remains wonder.

Chaos with order remains chaotic.

One final thing in Innovation is that Innovators need leadership air cover in order to succeed. When you are improvising you are going to make mistakes. It is only through embracing the mistakes that breakthroughs emerge.

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Espoused Neurodiversity: The Change Maker and The Green Mile

While it is natural for organizational neurotypicals to misunderstand changemakers, it is very hard to stomach the incongruity, the mismatch between the espoused values of the organization those values in practice. Innovation and change need friends in high places, without the air cover of leadership in organizations those people who can unlock future growth in organizations will leave to find authenticity and fulfillment somewhere else.

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Designing Ditches Is Not Digging Ditches: The Map is Not the Territory

The map is not the territory means that the description of something is not the reality of that something. The model is not reality, or in the context of this Thursday Thought, when a group of consultants who know very little about your organization design a strategy, it does not mean that strategy will succeed. In fact, because they do not know the inner workings of not only your industry, or the realities of the territory of your organization, coupled with the reality that they often do not include key people in designing the map, many consultants design bum maps. Is it any wonder that 75% of transformational efforts fail? (I always believe it is more because some organizations will not admit such failure)

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