Tag Archives: Leadership

How to Practice The Art of The Possible

How to practice the art of the possible

Innovative leaders and organizations practice the art of the possible.

What is the key trait all innovators have? Curiosity, which enables them look beyond the obvious and consider possibilities.

Innovation is about new, surprising and better options. You don’t get to see these better options in your mind’s eye without having a positive outlook, yet not every vision survives contact with reality; ideas need to be challenged.

Some people either love or hate the last part.

As entrepreneurs we fight for our idea and come up with all kinds of reasons why and how it will it work, and are quite often met with resistance from those that come up with reasons why it won’t work.

Of course, we should always consider why something won’t work but there are people who are persistently closed minded. Do you often make excuses for why something won’t work without reasons why it will? Most people do.

And it has to do with attitude and perspective…

Many, many years ago I ended every email with “Embrace the impossible” as both a reminder to myself and the people I was sending the email to that things are impossible until they aren’t; because all we have to do is take the time to figure out a way forward.

Attitude and perspective matter more than process

Innovation requires a “We’ll figure it out mindset”, and I believe that “We’ll figure it out” is the innovator’s motto because we understand that innovation is as much about attitude and perspective as it is about process. It really is. There are many frameworks and tools that enhance the innovator’s DNA, yet they’re not a silver bullet because they won’t replace the attitude necessary to go through the ups and downs of making innovation happen.

It’s very simple, not everyone has the mental and emotional fortitude for dealing with the unknown. And, tools are useless if you don’t have the habit of using your creative skills.

With that said, the way to practice the art of the possible is about attitude and perspective:

Don’t be the one who only thinks of ways why it won’t work.

Be the one who will find ways to make it work.

Again, most people only think of why something won’t work. Great innovators do both: think of why something won’t work and then find ways to make it work.

I can’t state this more, attitude and perspective matter. There’s a difference between being a devil’s advocate and being close minded; most people are close minded.

Don’t be close minded.

True leadership is having a healthy disregard for the impossible

This isn’t to say that open minded leaders are out of danger; no. I’ve met many open minded leaders who like to talk about possibilities, but get stressed and scared when it comes to putting something into action.

I’ve observed that most open minded leaders without a bias for action believe that having a process will calm their nerves. These people are the ones who want clear guidelines and results, they are prone to saying the two deadliest words in business: prove it.

But, again, there is no innovation without experimentation; and it’s messy. This is what innovative leaders get: Being open minded is necessary to practice the art of the possible, but you need commitment, passion and being comfortable working in the unknown to figure out ways to make it work.

You see, the best leaders are pattern thinkers, learners with a bias for experimentation. This is what drives innovation, not clear cut guidelines that mimic the core business with the goal of delivering incremental results.

Bottom line: The are many motivational cliches that are used on a day to day basis, one of them is “Anything is possible”. Many people take this as pure motivational speak, but it is true because as Nelson Mandela says, “it’s always impossible until it’s done.”

Obsession: The Difference Between Good and Great

Obsession beats talent

Illustration by Christian Laborin

Survival in the 21st century demands a ceaseless obsession with your customers and with the possibilities that new technologies can offer them. When hiring or collaborating, we want to work with the most talented people. But have you ever thought about the most obsessive? Unlike naturally talented people, the most obsessive will challenge you and make you better.

A User Manual To Working With Me

A User Manual To Working With Me

Empathy, collaboration, creativity, leadership are future-proof skills everyone needs to have; which are in short supply. So, how do we embrace, develop and put these skills to work in a world where collaboration is an imperative?

We can begin by setting expectations about ourselves, clarifying our intentions and being accountable. How?

Reframing Resistance to Change

we can't change people to our view if we don't understand theirs

No standard behavior change, no innovation. It’s that simple. True Innovation results in a step-change where we can’t imagine going back to the old way, but the road to that outcome is full of rejection. It’s hard to overstate how important this is: if you’re not getting rejected you’re going the wrong way.

Change a Behavior if You Want to Change a Result

English: A collage of an image modified with 1...

English: A collage of an image modified with 16 different Instagram filters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started 2017 will a couple of posts about reinvention (here and here). Fittingly, Recode published a look into Instagram’s reinvention. The story goes that a few years ago, Instagram was seeing a dip in sharing and engagement on their platform. Driving this change was the mass of brands and celebrities sharing and promoting as much as they can, lowering the quality of friend and family interaction Instagram became known for; the user experience they set out to create with Instagram.

4 Challenges Organizations Face To Get The Most From Generalists


New challenges require new approaches. All organizations have new challenges on the table all the time, but most are not equipped to come up with new approaches to conquer them because they can’t think and act differently.

This is a specialization challenge.

As a rule of thumb, your business needs more generalists than specialists if it wants to innovate. Don’t get me wrong, specialists are valuable. But Generalists are the innovators, the ones who are most capable of dealing with complexity; the ones that connect that dots.

Yesterday I joined Innochat to chat about T-Shaped people and culture for collaborative innovation (see transcript). I’ve written quite a lot about Generalists (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here), so I won’t touch on here the well known factors about being a Generalist, hiring and managing.

Instead, I’ll touch on the challenges…