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You can’t copy real leadership

steve jobs innovative leadership

There is a reason innovative companies keep evolving: innovative leadership.

It has been proven time and time again, innovative leaders drive innovative companies.

Last week I gave a social media workshop to two Mexican companies. While this workshop was focused on the MarCom function, still at the beginning of the workshop I had them answer a few questions about their companies. One of them was: how do you want to be remembered?

Their responses were varied, and along with other words, they all had the word “innovative” in there. To which I asked: what specifically is your company doing to be innovative?

There were some answers, but you could tell their respective companies have no shared definition of innovation. Yet all of the people in the room agreed that their “bosses” haven’t quite made up their minds about social media. That their bosses see this as a project to see what it is. Sound familiar?

Innovation work is the same way. Executives want it, but they treat it as a project. The desire for predictability stifles innovation or any other initiative that will make your company evolve. How do you, as an Executive, expect anything to happen? The question they should be asking themselves is quite simple:

How can we expect employees to be motivated to innovate if we don’t set the example ourselves?

Companies that compete differently work differently

Leadership (even idea leadership) scares many people, because it requires you to own your words. That is why in most companies, employees are just going through the notions of the job while their hearts and minds aren’t engaged. A recent study concluded that disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy $350 billion a year in lost productivity. Think about it…

Someone who is engaged cares and shows it in everything they do as well as their way of being with others. And if you, as a Leader, don’t own it, why should others do any differently?

Innovation failure is as much a failure of leadership as it is of changing marketing conditions. How can you create a culture of leadership? The hardest part for any leader, is adding meaning to someones job. It is about turning that job into a cause, into a mission. Start there…

Ask yourself: As a Leader, what actions am I specifically taking to set the example? How am I helping to improve myself, the company, the industry, partners, friends, family?

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