Sometimes it pays to be an Antisocial Know-it-all

Ben Horowitz Ben Horowitz is an entrepreneur who developed a data centre software company, Opsware and sold it to HP for $1.6B in 2007. In 2009 he and Marc Andreesen (who created Netscape and Mosaic) founded the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. It has had some spectacularly successful investments including Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Pinterest. Horowitz talked about today’s leading... Read More--

Bad Attitudes can lead to Good Innovation

I give workshops on creative leadership for major organisations around the world. I always ask delegates, ‘What is impeding innovation in your business?’ The answers often involve cultural issues such as aversion to risk, complacency or lack of motivation to experiment. When I gave a workshop in Taiwan one of the cultural issues raised was, ‘We have too much respect’.  Middle... Read More--

Why Leaders should Choose Their Words with Care

Let’s say the challenge is to win an important bid. You say to your team, ‘We must win this bid. We’ve got to do everything possible to win it.’ You are in command mode, effectively issuing orders and an implied threat. On the other hand you could say, ‘We really want to win this bid. Let’s think of every possible way we can succeed.’ Now you are being inclusive... Read More--

Silos Impede Innovation – So Break Them

Within larger organisations one of the biggest obstacles to innovation is poor internal communication.  A ‘silo’ mentality develops so that departments guard information and ideas rather than share them.  People work hard – but in isolated groups.  Internal politics can compound the problem with rivalry and turf wars obstructing collaboration.  It can reach the ridiculous stage where the... Read More--

Can you train people to be innovative? You can and you should.

Is innovation some chance occurrence that comes in a flash of brilliance by the CEO? Is it the domain of just a handful of creative geniuses? No. You can establish a culture and a process for innovation throughout the organization. It takes leadership. A good place to start is with training.How did your organization acquire its skills in quality, sales, marketing, people management, finance and all... Read More--

Is Your Management Structure Helping or Hindering Innovation?

Should You Destroy the Hierarchy? The traditional top-down structure in organizations can be a powerful inhibitor to innovation. It is a reflection of a command and control style of leadership where orders are issued at the top and followed by the ranks. People lower down the organization who have great ideas can feel inhibited about promoting them. They feel it is disrespectful to challenge the... Read More--

Leadership lessons from your GPS guidance system

If you want to be a better leader then take a look at the satellite navigation system (GPS) in your car. Here is what it can teach:   1. The Sat Nav stays focused on the destination. Regardless of blocked roads, obstacles, traffic and diversions it continues to focus on finding a way of reaching the strategic goal – the destination. In the same way a great leader continues to focus on the... Read More--

Success is the Enemy of Innovation

Success can be innovation’s greatest foe.  When thing are going well we can become blinded. Success becomes a prophylactic against disruptive ideas. Why should we change a winning formula? Don’t mess with success! These are the sorts of things people say. And yet the business cemetery is littered with companies that were shooting stars – a brilliant success for a while followed by... Read More--

How to Overcome Customer Resistance to Change

Sometimes the biggest resistance to innovation comes from the person who should benefit most from it – the customer. Customers can be very conservative. When you come along with an unorthodox new product or service they are often initially unimpressed. Why should the buyer take a risk with your unproven new gismo? He knows that new products often have bugs and he does not want to be the guinea... Read More--

Give Everyone Two Jobs – their current job and finding a completely different way to do it

As the leader, how can you continually improve the performance of your business and at the same time innovate? Should you just focus on making the current model work better or should you seek to find different ways to do things? The answer is that you and your team need to do both. Give all your people two key objectives. Ask them to run their current jobs in the most effective way possible and at... Read More--