Category Archives: entrepreneurship

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.

How To Think Clearly

Thinking is hard. The main reason is because the brain wants to be efficient, so it develops routines and habits that are hard to break. That’s why sometimes your head hurts when you really put your mind to work; you’re forcing your brain to break it’s routine and be unefficient.

Doubt, Not Fear, Is A Dream Killer

michael jordan

“Why should I worry about a shot I haven’t taken.” – Michael Jordan

Last week I wrote a post on how to overcome fear of failure and doubt. Some people asked me to unpack it a little bit more, so I’ll do that here for you. Fear of failure paralyzes people. I know more people that are paralyzed by fear than those who are not. But get this, all of them have some form of self-doubt.

Self-doubt, we all have had it at some point. To achieve anything, and give your best, you can have fear; but you can’t have doubt. The minute you have doubt you start overanalyzing things, thinking about the negative things of something. Doubt, not fear, is a dream killer. 

Fear is an instinct. Doubt is created by you. Fear can drive you, doubt drowns you. When you have fear you play to win. When you have doubt you play not to lose. When you play not to lose, you end up never playing your best.

So how do you overcome doubt?

You try, give your best, live with the results and learn.

There’s no magic formula, it’s a mindset and attitude. Personally, I’d rather not live with regret that I didn’t do this or that, tried this or that, than have a bunch of experiences and lessons from doing something.

I’ve always been fearless and had great confidence in myself. I can’t remember a time when I was truly fearful. But I can remember a few times when the voice of self-doubt stuck into my head. This happened in my mid-twenties, and it wasn’t fun.

I had a little bit of a perfectionist attitude when I was younger. I’ve never liked losing at anything. I still don’t. I dealt with that attitude by trying to control everything. I had a stretch in my life where everything went my way; I was always winning. And I became very arrogant because of this. One time I told my mom, “All I have to do is snap my fingers and shit happens for me”.

Yup, I was all up in my head.

But I changed my mindset when I things stopped going my way. As I started getting my hands into different interests, and things didn’t go my way, I started accumulating failures; aka lessons. Self-reflection, looking for answers, letting go of things and working on shutting down my self-critical voice pushed me through. Doubt has never been a big enemy for me. Self-criticism was my toughest enemy to defeat. I’m highly critical of myself and expect a lot of myself; and have made myself cry when I haven’t lived up to my expectations.

Losing sucks. But not trying sucks more for me. That’s why I’ve always followed my interests with complete disregard for what the end result could be. I’ve never seen my experiences as win or lose, rather as things I want to do; and whatever I do I give it my best.

We all know people who live their lives avoiding fear and pleasuring their self-doubt. They’ve basically surrendered to their self-doubt. Don’t be that person. Take action. Don’t let self-doubt dictate who you are and who you can become. It all comes down to your mindset and attitude. I can control my attitude. So can you. But we can’t worry about things that are out of our control.

Just do it.

The Best Way To Fight Through The Fear And Anxiety Of Failure

You and I both know people who get paralyzed by the unknown. I have friends and family members who are so stuck in their comfort zone that they don’t even think about it. I also know people who like posting quotes on Facebook and Twitter about living outside their comfort zone, yet they don’t practice what they preach.