The dry academic tomes I wrote very early in my career were earnest reflections of the research I conducted, the analysis I applied and the conclusions I drew. And they had few readers, mostly other academics. I learned along the way and started including more and more stories in my work.
All organizations start with a structure that looks like a dynamic solar system. They can be very fast, agile. They attract people who play around with crazy ideas.
Every organization goes through a lifecycle where they eventually lose their initial speed or agility at a strategic level.
We worry about appearing awkward in a presentation. But up to a point, most people seem to feel more comfortable with less-than-perfect speaking abilities. It makes the speaker more human - and more vulnerable, meaning he is less likely to attack our decisions or beliefs.
Many years ago, I think I got my first insight on how an incredibly diverse team can work together and do astonishing things, and not just misunderstand each other and fight.
More and more I'm finding that I'm reading history, I'm reading biography, I'm reading autobiography for a sense of people who've been able to provide leadership. I don't read leadership books anymore.
In terms of getting people to experiment more and take more risk, there are at least three things that immediately come to my mind. Number one, of course, is role-modeling it yourself. Number two is, when people take intelligent, smart risks and yet it doesn't work out, not shooting them. And number three, being honest with yourself.
If the culture you have is radically different from an 'experiment and take-risk' culture, then you have a big change you going to have to make - and no little gimmicks are going to do it for you.
Over the years I have become convinced that we learn best - and change - from hearing stories that strike a chord within us.
A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent.
Great leaders understand that historical success tends to produce stable and inwardly focused organizations, and these outfits, in turn, reinforce a feeling of contentment with the status quo.
The world has 6 billion people and counting. We need to help 500 million people become better leaders so that billions can benefit.
Neurologists say that our brains are programmed much more for stories than for abstract ideas. Tales with a little drama are remembered far longer than any slide crammed with analytics.
True urgent leadership doesn't drain people. It does the opposite. It energizes them. It makes them feel excited.
I'm impatient. Typically people think they know all about change and don't need help. Their approach tends to be more management-oriented than leadership-oriented. It's very frustrating.
Globalization is going to bring us closer and closer together across nations and technology you can't stop.
At any one time the world has a very limited number of Steve Jobs or Winston Churchills or Thomas Watson the firsts. These are wonderful people and we can learn much from them, but praying for a few more of them to solve the world's problems is not a great idea.
Managers are trained to make incremental, programmatic improvements. They aren't trained to lead large-scale change.
It's very difficult to innovate without requiring people to do something different. And whenever you require people to do something different, you're talking about change.
I am often asked about the difference between 'change management' and 'change leadership,' and whether it's just a matter of semantics. These terms are not interchangeable.