This Steve Jobs quote courtesy of Subconscious Films.
I perceive innovation as a driving force, an imperative or fundamental value. It shows up in a leader as the act or practice of improvising - making the implicit explicit to satisfy a need. An Apple PowerBook or iPod are both good examples. While the underlying architectures of a laptop or an mp3 player were well understood the Apple designs are innovative because some talented people, leaders in their field, improvised around those general themes to create exceptional products.
Innovation is a quality of a leader but not exclusively so. What about the people who purchase Apple products? They are followers! While innovation shows up in a leader as improvising it shows up in a follower as responding. Continuing the example, Apple's innovative designs resonate with a segment of consumers who respond by purchasing their products.
Innovation is a value important both to one who leads and to one who follows. In this context, leading and following are really distinguished according to how innovation manifests, in improvising or responding.
Technorati tags: Leadership, Management, Organizational Development, Business, Work, Lean, Lead, Follow, Innovate, Innovation, Improvising, Responding, Leadership, Apple, PowerBook, iPod, Steve Jobs
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
This Steve Jobs quote courtesy of Subconscious Films.
Posted by Chris Newham at 11:34 PM
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I didn't expect to continue to write about the model A Vision of Leadership (now Leadership for Collaboration and Innovation) however I gain new insights as I work with it, this one about "walking the talk." I first came across the expression early in the nineties and ever since have taken it as a reminder that it is appropriate to do or at least be able to do whatever one recommends to others. One not only gains from the presumably beneficial action but models it for others, leading by example. Conversely, one would fail to walk the talk and be considered hypocritical if one claimed to value something but neglected it in one's actions. I was content with that until I found some greater depth to this idea in the tetrahedral model.
In re-writing the descriptions of the features I repeatedly mixed up the ideas of leading others and leading oneself. There is a set of descriptions for each case and one day I will document both. Most recently I decided to adopt the convention that leadership is primarily about oneself and the effects one might have on others are secondary, arising only from effects one has on oneself. According to this convention the values lead and follow are about leading and following oneself but what does that mean?
A visualization is the imagined outcome by a leader of his/her creating structures to implement, improvising in order to innovate and realizing some objective through this innovation and implementation. This same visualization can be shared with others to provide them direction but that is secondary to providing direction for the visualizing leader.
In the metaphor of the tetrahedron, leadership is described by the total volume enclosed by all its features and that volume can be bounded by all four corners, all four faces or just one face and the opposing corner. The corner opposing 'visualization' is 'follow' and thus we have leadership when one who would follow adopts the visualization of one who would lead. If leader and follower are the same, following oneself means being true to one's own visualization.
Leadership is primarily about being intellectually honest or walking one's own internal talk. Although it may later be the same, this is not the talk that is shared with others but the talk one has with oneself prior to sharing it with others! In this way I have transformed my understanding of 'walking the talk' from acting congruently with already espoused values to acting congruently with values arising in the moment, espoused by oneself to oneself. No-one except the leader him/herself can observe whether their actions are consistent with their intuition, best judgment and conscience. Only I know if I am walking my talk!
Technorati tags: Leadership, Management, Organizational Development, Business, Work, Lean, Lead, Follow, Innovate, Innovation, Implement, Implementation, Leadership, Visualization
Posted by Chris Newham at 12:14 AM
Monday, January 09, 2006
I was looking at the search terms that are used to find my business site, Strategies for Leadership and noticed "interactive leadership," which finds it because of the "interactive, leadership model" I have described. I don't want visitors to be disappointed so I will reward them with something on the subject here and learn in the process. Before I write my own perceptions/understandings I thought it best to check what's been blogged on the subject and although there's not a lot, it might prove interesting:
- In " Interactive Leadership - Leaders Who Listen" Gerard Kelly (8/17/05) uses a computer analogy, "Listening is where leadership begins. In a time of transition and change, it is where leadership must linger for much longer than we are used to. In the terminology of Computer Science, an interactive programme is one in which the operator is in direct communication with the computer, receiving immediate responses to input data. This is contrasted with batch processing, in which the necessary data and instructions are prepared in advance and processed by the computer with little or no intervention from the operator. Interactive leaders, then, are those who not only impact their environment but are impacted by it; who are as much shaped by relationships as they are shapers of them; who respond not only to principle but to particularity. The heart of interactivity is listening, and looking and learning are its constant companions. Interactive leaders are those who examine and explore; who research and respond. To lead interactively is to be a lifelong learner."
- In "If Women Ruled the World" Published Sunday, September 25, 2005 by Mercutio, written by TARA SHARAFUDEEN we have a gender distinction, "Men traditionally tend to be more "transactional", that is they view the job as a series of transactions with subordinates, exchanging rewards and punishments for service. They are more likely to use the force of their organizational position and formal authority. Women described themselves as more "transformational", getting subordinates to put the group above themselves for a greater goal. . . . . Judy Rosener who conducted the "International Women's Forum Survey of Men and Women Leaders", surveyed women who described themselves as transactional leaders and found them to have an interactive leadership style. They encouraged participation, information sharing, tried to energize and raise the self worth of subordinates. They believed that to give their best, people need to feel good about their job and themselves." (LATER NOTE: I have built on these ideas in Leadership and Gender.) (NOTE OF 9/23/06. I've come across this further information about Judith Rosner's work.)
- In "Beyond the Hype: Do Blogs Provide a Platform for Leadership?" Edward Deevy (7/18/05), I unexpectedly found a blogging comparison, " Later, as a consultant to a number of client organizations I advocated the concept of "leadership by walking around." At that time I stressed the importance of INTERACTIVE leadership. My bias was that leaders needed to not merely tell people what to do but they also needed to listen. . . . For a number of years I have recommended that organizational leaders interact regularly with employees in meetings and conferences. . . . The development of the blogging platform just a few years ago now makes it possible for leaders to hold ongoing "conversations" with employees and customers. What's really noteworthy is that the new software makes genuine INTERACTIVE dialogue possible."
Blogs would appear to support interactive leadership and thus innovation. A couple of months ago I quickly looked for CEO blogs that included leadership/management-employee interaction and found none. To the contrary I found a couple where employees vented to each other, in the absence of communications with leadership/management. I would also be interested in examples of interactive leadership in CEO blogs.
A quick google on "interactive leadership" showed many more web sites results than my Technorati blog search, so I may return to this subject. So far I have been reminded that it is because of their transactional nature that implementation activities are relatively easy to outsource and offshore which brings pressure for more innovation by domestic enterprises. The implementation component to every human activity insures that transactional leadership will always be a necessary skill but probably in proportionately less demand locally. This micro-study leads me to appreciate that a widespread call for innovation generates a demand for what some are calling "interactive leadership," explaining the appearance of this search term.
Technorati tags: Leadership, Management, Organizational Development, Business, Work, Lean, Lead, Follow, Innovate, Innovation, Implement, Implementation, Transactional Leadership, Interactive Leadership
Posted by Chris Newham at 9:09 AM
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The underlying leadership model is unchanged but more accessible, with descriptions adjacent to images and faster movement between images. You can now directly access individual features of the model from this page.
As before, this model arose as an exercise in visioning and is a specific illustration of a generalized technique. The model integrates the value pairs, lead and follow, innovate and implement. This is important because most issues of business leadership can usually be traced to a polarization around one of these values to the exclusion of another or others. Elsewhere I make the case that the intentions to innovate and implement are only useful when co-existing as innovate-implement; both bring about quite different activities but activities that can only be sustained in coexistence. Similarly, neither are the intentions to lead and follow useful in isolation; it is lead-follow that gets the job done.
The model terms simply arise as the outcome of 'containing' the tensions between these four values. The descriptions of the model's features however, using these terms, continue to be a challenge.
You can enter the new Vision of Leadership at any one of these feature links:
Posted by Chris Newham at 8:15 PM