As leaders, among our many responsibilities, we have is to face down challenges. Then muster the backbone to the carry out the necessary actions that oftentimes are not easy. At the same time we must temper our toughness with kindness. A leader must be multi dimensional and never one sided. To paraphrase Darwin it is not the strongest but the ones who can adapt that survive.
It is important that has we adapt we are fearless has we pioneer new channels, markets and opportunities. However, that does not mean we are ever reckless. Developing a strategy and moving in to unknown territory is not the same has simply charging headlong with no plan or contingency. Bravery with no brains is not desired either.
Therefore, the thought of this week is to make sure that being fearless and being reckless is recognized as more than a mere distinction. Make sure you are fearless but never at the reckless cost of your colleagues or company. Take measures to balance your courage with great caution and patience for gathering intelligence and listening to others. Be firm in your convictions but not blind to possibility of compromise. Read the last paragraph again and measure your own performance? Challenge yourself to become better and be viewed as fearless but never reckless. Think how you can develop those in your team to become fearless and well rounded leaders. The payoff will be huge.
Thought of the Week – If you’re not getting better you are getting worse
Business is fierce and rapidly changing. It is not enough to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your previous work or even maintain your current pace or capabilities. You and your team must evolve and grow. While harsh it is absolutely reality that if you are not getting better you are getting worse.
You must strive daily to improve and be in constant pursuit of positive growth. This focus will separate you from the pack in the end. Improving does not happen naturally however. It must be worked for. It must be planned and never left for chance.
Develop an improvement plan and review for progress at least bi-weekly. Dream big and big things will happen if you commit and follow through. So, follow through you must. Think. Execute. Adapt. Then Repeat. Get specific and go win!
*Originally published on LinkedIn
People usually think that world-changing ideas are rare and can only come about like a lightning bolt of inspiration or a stroke of genius. However, according to Osama A. Hashmi’s “Innovation Thinking Methods,” that’s not the case at all. According to Hashmi and his book, finding or creating ground-breaking solutions is something that anyone can do.
Hashmi’s entrepreneurial career spans over 15 years. Currently he’s the CEO and Product Architect of the revolutionary CDF Software. He’s helped build numerous product-based companies, startup communities in emerging markets, and enterprise companies on product strategy. His aim has always been the same: try to solve some of the big problems of the world. Here’s where “innovative-thinking,” as he likes to call it, comes in very handy.
In his book, Hashmi explains that being a true innovator and a product visionary is all about adopting a simple thinking discipline he calls “innovative-thinking.” He defines this discipline based on the different methods and techniques he’s used throughout his career to build strong innovation cultures and help entrepreneurs refocus their company goals on more impactful endeavors.
The problem with today’s entrepreneurs is that more and more we see how startups and larger companies are pressured by investors and founders to innovate while maintaining the level of risk involved as minimal as possible. This pressure becomes very stifling for companies that have the ability to reach new heights and ultimately leads them to create mediocre improvements to already existing solutions, rather than creating something people don’t even know they need yet. To make things worse, with the world becoming increasingly interconnected, innovators are required to act fast; the goal is always to be the first, not necessarily the best.
After presenting the issues that are currently limiting everyday-people from creating transformative things, Hashmi presents a series of suggestions on simple ways people can use innovative-thinking to their advantage. One of the methods he mentions is thinking, talking, and essentially behaving like a human. According to Hashmi, often times when we focus on product or service development delivery we think and act like a business to a business, instead of a customer to another customer. According to Hashmi, the simple act of putting ourselves in the shoes of a customer can bring about innovation in ways you wouldn’t expect. It allows you to genuinely approach a problem as a human looking for a solution, not at a company looking for success. When you do this you open yourself to truly understanding the needs that must be solved and become more creative in your solution search.
Another great thing about Hashmi’s book is that it’s an easy read. It’s written in a conversational style with no technical jargon that may discourage a wider audience from reading it. It’s full of sustained examples, powerful questions, and realistic criticism of today’s entrepreneurial industry. If you’re looking for a good guide on how to be substantially innovative, this is a good place to start.
There is no question that the ability to find and be secure in your strengths is an incredibly difficult task that is becoming increasingly hard to deconstruct. Insecurity about strengths or weaknesses in the workplace is something everyone feels from their day to day lives, which the author of “Standout” examines with the release of his most recent book. Marcus Buckingham, who many people believe is a prominent presence in what is called the strengths movement, has been a leading voice in rethinking how we can uniquely succeed in the workplace through the process of specific online tests.
Different from his previous books that have focused on the first two steps of finding your strengths, his latest book titled Standout: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution, emphasizes the last step of the process is utilizing the online assessment to discover what your two primary strength areas are to essentially excel in the workplace.Instead of taking the approach to improve your certain weaknesses, Buckingham supports the evidence used in his book on thorough behavioral and statistical research which he used to analyze some of the world’s top business leaders. In terms of the exam itself, below are the twenty strengths that are in the assessment crafted to find areas in which you stand out and should further capitalize on in the workplace.
Charismatic people that have the innate ability to connect and interact with people on a high energy level very different from the average person. They value collaboration and better understanding people through interaction.
This role depicts someone who essentially values the community around them and does their best to support their environment in any way they can. Some forms of this include knowledge or other intellectual resources.
The person who is constantly guiding others either on your team or others in the office who are willing to learn.
You create and are constantly coming up with new ways to approach a certain process or idea. Generating interesting ways to tackle a specific situation is something you love to do.
These types of individuals strongly feel as though everyone’s work should be at an equal level as their own. They strive to be better, while expecting the same strong work ethic in return.
Based on very clear verbal directness, influencers are keen on finding ways to achieve a goal in various circumstances by capitalizing on charm or other enticing means of communication.
Intrigued by the spontaneous or exciting experiences, these individuals love to constantly challenge themselves by trying to break out of their comfort zones.
A nature leader, your high energy influences other to engage what you have to say or do at a level very different from the other strength areas.
Unlike other books that have a clear focus on improving or finding your strengths, Buckingham does not use excessive theoretical jargon or complex language to effectively achieve his message to his readers. More than anything, he holistically explains the highlights of his research so that you, the reader can find success in your respective career path full of skills that are waiting to be tapped into.
Freakonomics, the product of a joint effort between economist Steven Levitt and award-winning journalist Stephen Dubner, was amongst the first books published in this genre. It many ways, it serves as the paragon of all non-fiction books that try to flip notions that much of society take for granted on their head. They delve into a number of issues, but the overarching theme in this groundbreaking book is that things are not always as they seem.
In their groundbreaking novel, Dubner and Levitt present a number of situations in which the two applied economic principles to uncover often-surprising and seemingly irrational explanations for certain phenomena. In one particularly entertaining chapter, the two authors discuss the pattern and evolution naming children and how, above all else, it is influenced by socioeconomic status. Dubner and Levitt spend a chapter discussing real estate agents, the vocabulary they use, and how they may not truly have your best interests at mind. The two, nearly a decade after they published their book, record a weekly podcast in which they examine situations through an economic lens.
While these anecdotes are certainly entertaining and make for great lunch-table conversations, there also a number of truly valuable business lessons that leaders should take full advantage of. At its core, Freakonomics is a book about incentives and how they can lead to disastrous results if misaligned. Levitt and Dubner explain how a breakdown in incentives was the chief cause for systemic cheating in the sport of sumo wrestling as well as in the American school system. Incentives are great, but be very careful when you are placing them or they will almost certainly have unintended consequences.
Freakonomics also demonstrates the the power of data. If properly harnessed, data can reveal startling insights that will help you make informed and educated business decisions. Furthermore, data, on its surface level, can often be misleading. Having someone equipped with the knowledge of how to handle and analyze massive datasets on your team is absolutely vital. Here is a short clip from my speaker series talking about the importance of knowledge and data, and how you need to soak it up and harness it to lead through adversity.