10 Key Takeouts From Passion Management Series

Last week in 2020 Resolutions & The Rear View Mirror I expressed that after delving into PURPOSE in 2018 and PASSION in 2019, my focus in 2020 will be PERFORMANCE (creativity, innovation & adaptability). Prior to that, I will give the top 10 takeouts from my last deep dive into PASSION:

Mort Meyerson, the much-admired CEO and philanthropist, at the helm of Perot Systems, compared leading an organization in fast-changing times to “floating in lava in a wooden boat.”His plea to the group: “We need a new model to reach the future.” 

Are those misgivings any less relevant today than they were back then, or the prospects for genuine transformation any less daunting? Here, then, are ten questions that leaders at every level must ask of themselves and their organizations—questions that speak to the challenges of change. Those with the best answers win.

Do you see opportunities the competition doesn’t see?

IDEO’s Tom Kelly likes to quote French novelist Marcel Proust, who famously said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”The most successful companies don’t just out-compete their rivals. They redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world of me-too thinking. 

For a deeper look refer to Blogs: what you see shapes what you change & turn back the hands of time

Do you have new ideas about where to look for new ideas?

One way to look at problems as if you’re seeing them for the first time is to look at a wide array of fields for ideas that have been working for a long time. Ideas that are routine in one industry, can be revolutionary when they migrate to another industry, especially when they challenge the prevailing assumptions that have come to define so many industries. 

For a deeper look refer to Blog: where you look shapes what you see & steal with glee & introduce bees into your organisation & cross pollinating inside & out & interpol, google & the congo & 5 truths of corporate transformation

Are you the most of anything?

You can’t be “pretty good” at everything anymore. You have to be the most of something: the most affordable, the most accessible, the most elegant, the most colorful, the most transparent. Companies used to be comfortable in the middle of the road—that’s where all the customers were. Today, the middle of the road is the road to ruin. What are you the most of? 

For a deeper look refer to Blog: are you the most of anything?

If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would miss you and why? 

I first heard this question from advertising legend Roy Spence, who says he got it from Jim Collins of Good to Great fame. Whatever the original source, the question is as profound as it is simple—and worth taking seriously as a guide to what really matters.

For a deeper look refer to Blog: is your organisation a passion brand & what is your one sentence?

Have you figured out how your organization’s history can help to shape its future? 

Psychologist Jerome Bruner has a pithy way to describe what happens when the best of the old informs the search for the new. The essence of creativity, he argues, is “figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.”The most creative leaders I’ve met don’t disavow the past. They rediscover and reinterpret what’s come before as a way to develop a line of sight into what comes next. 

For a deeper look refer to Blog: working backwards & the heart of transformation & the companies with the strongest emotions win

Can your customers live without you?

If they can, they probably will. The researchers at Gallup have identified a hierarchy of connections between companies and their customers—from confidence to integrity to pride to passion. To test for passion, Gallup asks a simple question: “Can you imagine a world without this product?”One of the make-or-break challenges for change is to become irreplaceable in the eyes of your customers. 

For a deeper look refer to Blog: does your company follow the lombardi way?

Do you treat different customers differently? 

If your goal is to become indispensable to your customers, then almost by definition you won’t appeal to all customers. In a fickle and fast-changing world, one test of how committed a company is to its most important customers is how fearless it is about ignoring customers who aren’t central to its mission. Not all customers are created equal.

For a deeper look refer to Blog: to ignite passion create a vocabulary

Are you getting the best contributions from the most people?

It may be lonely at the top, but change is not a game best played by loners. The first rule of innovation is that the most powerful contributions come from the most unexpected places—the “hidden genius” inside your company, the “collective genius” of customers, suppliers, and other smart people who surround your company. Tapping this genius requires a new leadership mindset—enough ambition to address tough problems, enough humility to know you don’t have all the answers. 

For a deeper look refer to Blog: celebrate the geeks in your organisation & paying employees to quit & from enraged to engaged

Are you consistent in your commitment to change? Pundits love to excoriate companies because they don’t have the guts to change. In fact, the problem with many organizations is that all they do is change. They lurch from one consulting firm to the next, from the most recent management fad to the newest. If, as a leader, you want to make deep-seated change, then your priorities and practices have to stay consistent in good times and bad.

For a deeper look refer to Blog: 5 new rules for starting something new

Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

I first heard this question from strategy guru Gary Hamel, and it may be the most urgent question facing leaders in every field. In a world that never stops changing, great leaders can never stop learning. How do you push yourself as an individual to keep growing and evolving—so that your company can do the same?

For a deeper look refer to Blog: impossible progress is possible & freedom is a bigger game than power & the rise of humbition & hidden genius

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