by Leon Goren
“If you want to grow through innovation you need to think differently and act differently.” That’s one insight Hal Gregersen shared at one of our annual PEO conferences.
Hal drew a distinction between discovery-driven and delivery-driven leaders. Innovation and growth come from the discovery-driven leader. Those who drive innovation within their organizations spend four months a year in discovery. They focus on mastering these key skills:
- Questioning – Critical to any opportunity for discovery or innovation, asking the right questions is essential. Ask “Why Not” or “What If.” Brainstorm the questions and push yourself. Don’t be limited to one or two – explore by asking as many questions as possible.
- Observing – Take the time to observe customers, services and products. A great example is P&G’s A.G. Lafley who not only visited his customers in various countries but used to also set time aside to speak with end-consumers in those countries. And how about the 82-year old Toyota chairman, scion of the founding family, who observed auto-manufacturing processes at the plant in Cambridge and suggested improvements to Daryl Wilson?
- Networking – Examine your network. Who do you speak to? How often do you spend time outside of the office to gain valuable insights? To drive any innovation, diversity is required. Doing the same thing every day in the office will never permit listening to what others outside of your industry are saying about the future. John Sutherland talked about stepping outside your business, looking at the technologies on the horizon. They will influence the way work tomorrow. To network effectively – open yourself up to discussions happening all around you! Listen! I couldn’t agree more by the way!
- Experimenting – Try out new things, take apart products, processes, and ideas and recreate them. Test-drive rapidly and cheaply. The world is changing – ideas are being generated globally. Analyzing and getting to 100 percent before every launch is not an acceptable methodology – it dooms you from the start.
- Associating – Taking ideas, products and putting them together in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily think possible creates something different. If you observe, network and train your brain to carry these thoughts and associate them together – driving innovation to within grasp.
- Taking time for innovation. The great companies let people have non-programmatic time to think about what else might be possible. At Google, it’s a day a week. In this case, thinking is more important than executing. You say you don’t have the time: make it.
To be successful there must be leaders spearheading execution who can be looked upon as delivery-driven. They focus their efforts on the planning, analyzing and execution of the organization’s strategic objectives – and are extremely detailed and self-disciplined.
You are either a disruptor or you are being disrupted. Look outside your current competitors for new threats and opportunities to your business. Most industries will be disrupted with technologies on the horizon if they haven’t already. It’s critical that a leader understands these technologies and the opportunities emerging from them. That’s how to disrupt the current way of doing business – and reap the benefits of exponential growth.
For more information on the 2017 PEO conference, and a list of our exciting speakers this year, click here.
ABOUT LEON GOREN
Leon Goren, owner and CEO of the Presidents of Enterprising Organizations (PEO), brings his passion for purposeful leadership to the PEO leadership community. Leon’s 25 years of leadership experience underscores his unique impact on the way PEO leaders lead, learn and live. He leverages his innate understanding of their needs and challenges to inspire leaders to excel beyond the status quo. Leon is also the Toronto Chair of TIGER 21, where he leverages his experience to develop exceptional leaders working with high net worth investors and families. As founder and CEO of justwhiteshirts.com in 1997, Leon became one of Canada’s first online success stories, bringing the dot com retail experience to Canadians.
Today, as an authority on leadership and business strategy, Leon is consistently invited to address various business audiences, including the graduating classes of Chartered Accountants. His thought leadership is published in the CA Magazine, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. Leon is on the Advisory Board of UMBRA and Timewyse Corp. and is a former member of the North York Athletic Club board of directors. Leon is a CPA, CA. He is married with three children and is active in sports, including triathlons and skiing.