You want real & empathetic leadership? Look for this one key pronoun to find out.

Let's face it. We are different. Very different. In. So. Many. Ways. And leadership abilities run the gamut.

Consistently, however, we all seem to want empathetic leadership and in the eternal search for it, we have made serious mistakes. Nothing can delay progress more than a weak, egocentric leader.  And nothing can kill ambition and inspiration faster than un-empathetic leader.

So, let us try to vet leaders in better ways. And let us aim to find those that have empathy and that wish for others to succeed beyond themselves. 

Yeah, I know, hard in today's world. They are out there, however.

There is one very simple test that we can start with. It is so simple is laughable. In my experience doing business across multiple cultures, this one pronoun will consistently reveal the truth about where a leader is in the empathetic, ego-less scale.

That pronoun is: I

Someone many years ago suggested trying to write everything without using "I." It is hard. Very hard. In a sel…

Innovation and Legacy Operational Systems

"Ok, so now you have been "managing" the future via innovation imperatives for a bit," my friend blurted out over dinner a few years back.

So, "invent the killer product of the future," he continued. "You know what the trends are and now you know how to build products and develop new business models." "What is holding you back?"

This conversation happened over a couple of pints and while working for a Fortune 60 company trying to reinvent itself in the face of massive disruption.

The answer was simply this: While there may be strong desires, passions and intentions to invent the next internet, what matters is the operational capacities to make it happen.  Most companies still act with analog operational tools and mindsets.

Many companies still have old product development tools based on gating systems and six sigma mandates that will kill product innovation. Like someone once said: "Six Sigma is for exploitation. Design Thinking (…

Cultural Foundations. Do They Matter? Oh Yeah...Can They Be Changed? Oh Yeah…

In my frequent travels to Chile in business and social capacities, the inevitable comparisons come up about differing cultural and business practices.
I can claim a modicum of ability on the matter from having spent my life working internationally and observing cultural differences. My inspiration is Alexis de Tocqueville, which did similar work, in his seminal work: Democracy in America, published in 1835 and 1840. A missive about our own USA culture and a great read.
At the risk of sounding critical about another culture that I happen to love and that I am aiming to change, I will nevertheless venture forth.
One consistent complaint from those visiting Chile is the lack of a service culture. This observation is in contrast to the USA culture, which in my experience is second to none.
Why the difference?
A Chilean friend shared his insights on the question. He is a professional that works in Chile’s number one industry and number one export – cooper.
You see, cooper mining is a dirty bu…

Innovation Doing: Glad Trash Bags & Febreze? Whaaat?

Innovation Thinking: How It Helps My Company Succeed

IoT, Innovation and Adoption Conversation: Part II

Below is a re post of a chat in HBR Group. Enjoy. Lot of value here. 

Companies have not, are not, mostly will not, be ready and/or adopt IoT in a timely fashion. I am not talking about startups building those new value-circles, or tech corps in the know. I am talking about the big incumbents. 

From my perspective having lived disruption (enabling new techs that can transform products such as VOIP for Telecom) the big boys (or gals) have a hard time finding the intersections and engage in dangerous reductions in complexity.

This is why innovation methodologies like Design Thinking are making such headway (CapitalOne, Apple, IBM, 3M, others...). They are designed to deconstruct and self-disrupt supply chains and force one to find the white spaces that can be improved (digitized and "IoTized" shall we say :-)).
Given the pace of digital techs (positive and negative) now self-disruption should be mandatory. Just ask Sony...

I also love helping corps self-disrupt. But, it is essentia…

LI - HBR Blog Post: The Changing Nature of "Value"

Kind of interest for all of us here - I imagine agents of change in the forefront of technology- to still be held back by the tyranny of the status quo and ancient and static thinking frameworks.
Take "Value" We could spend ages talking about what value is and the changing nature of value. Unfortunately, too often it is equated with ROI and financial metrics.
As Glen Cage so well say it: "Who would have thought a decade or two ago that giving away one's work for free would make money?"
There is new hidden/unmeet value being born everyday. Take the sharing economy allowing the creation of "value" in dormant assets like our spare bedroom. But wait, that is economic value. How about the social value of meeting a new human and expanding relationships via the sharing economy. There has to be value in that, isn't there? Call it soul value. Call it connecting value. After all the sharing economy (greatly advanced and promoted by the mobile and app revolu…