Archive for: June, 2021

For Innovation Be Led By Ideas Rather Than Hierarchy

As a general rule, organizations optimize for today. That is, they play the game not to lose; the status quo is more important than the future. But innovation led organizations optimize for both today and the future; but with a long-term focus on protecting the future.

What’s the difference between organizations that are future lead versus those that bend the knee to the status quo?

Hierarchy kills innovation when its focus is the short-term

Innovation led organizations put a bigger focus on ideas that enable the future today. To be idea led is to be open to ideas from anywhere; not just from the boss. Organizations that bend the knee to the status quo are obsessed with certainty and want to avoid any mess.

We’ve all worked at an organization that bends the knee, two things happen: it pays lip service to innovation, and innovation is seen as a waste of time and resources. Typically, the people leading these organizations are Chief Idea Killers; they are first and foremost concerned with maintaining efficiency. It’s their mandate to screen or kill any ideas, if ideas are even encouraged, that challenge the status quo.

And they do this with gusto!

I’ve gotten calls, texts and emails from people I’ve mentored and advised on leading innovation telling me how disappointed they are that their employer doesn’t value their new skills. Or how their boss sees them as a threat because they’re making an impact, in spite of hierarchy. These people work at organizations where hierarchy kills creativity; and this is mostly the norm.

I’m not saying hierarchy is bad. There’s good hierarchy and there’s bad hierarchy; the right kind of hierarchy can help people become better innovators, unfortunately the latter is the most predominant across organizations.

Hierarchy leads innovation when it gets out of its own way

Leaders at innovation led organizations create the context for others to be innovators. Leaders at these organizations lead innovation; they don’t demand it. They create the conditions for others to be the rock stars. They focus on unleashing potential by removing obstacles; not by creating them.

These leaders understand ideas beat hierarchy when trust exists in the organization. So if you want to lead by ideas, don’t hog the spotlight. Remember that it’s not about you; it’s about them. Trust your people, encourage dissent, celebrate the weird to create an organization where new and better worlds can be created.

Would I Quit Social Media?

Social media, do we need it? Here are a few reasons why we don’t: it’s a huge time waster, it lowers your self-esteem, it’s addictive and unhealthy, privacy issues, you often don’t learn anything valuable, it can make you negative, it can damage your reputation, it encourages superficial relationships.

For me, I’ve gotten value from social media because I’ve focused on what I want to get from it. Which means I haven’t experienced most of the things that I mentioned above.

I’ve had a Facebook account for almost 15 years. But I don’t use it like most people use it; I don’t go in there and scroll through the feed to see what people are doing. Frankly, I don’t care. I use it for direct messages, and people will direct me if there’s something important to see.

I use Instagram as my personal magazine of the things I like: cars, basketball, sneakers, technology, travel, photography, mindset stuff and models. Twitter is the social network I use the most, and the one I’ve gotten the most value from, because it’s where I get the intellectual stimulation. I’ve met many interesting people on Twitter which have become offline friends; and that’s great!

Two years ago I reduced my social media time because I was inundated with work; so I didn’t have a lot of time. What I missed the most during that time was the intellectual stimulation I got; not the memes and nonsense.

I know people who are perfectly happy being offline. Sure, they’re missing out on stuff. But they don’t care. It’s not a surprise, there are benefits from not using smartphones and social media.  With that said, the only reason I feel the need to be on social media is because of intellectual stimulation. I’m not in it to chit-chat and waste time, I’m in it to connect with people who are intellectually stimulating and contribute value to their network.

So ask yourself: what do you want to get from it?

You can stay clear of all the negative stuff, but we all know that’s a dream. Why? Because you have to be more rational; and that’s not something humans wake up everyday to do. Most people don’t wake up with the intent to get smarter and better everyday.

With that said, we are what we pay attention to. So, to control your life, control what you pay attention to.

Bottom line: We don’t need social media. We need human connection, by sharing our thoughts and ideas; we don’t need the bullshit that comes with social media.