FLASHPOINTS: Catch Me If You Can…

BAG Screen shot 062414 (1)Don’t play Follow The Leader;  instead, play Catch Me If You Can.

When playing in the big leagues of business, it can be a challenging to walk among the shadows of industry titans. Sometimes, it seems we’re forced to follow in their footsteps and do as they do to improve awareness and market share of our product or service. We’re often tempted to take action by following a similar path, releasing a similar product, or even running a similar marketing campaign—because, hey, if it worked for them, it should work for us, right? Wrong! This is where practicing innovation will set us on our own path to living a life of significance. Focus less on competing, and more on collaborating—and do things your way. Are you playing Follow The Leader or Catch Me If You Can?

 

FLASHPOINTS: Get Curious!

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Did curiosity really kill the cat?

I overheard a news story discussing the need for adults to nurture the curiosity of infants to stimulate the baby’s emotional growth and development.   It made me stop to ask, “Does this curiosity ever ease as we age?”  While our curiosities change with age and experience, it seems that human nature drives us to continually ask questions, seek answers, and to be on a constant quest to experience new things.  Why not nurture this curiosity in every area of life, including our place of work?   I encourage you to encourage your team to take on skill enriching extracurricular activities outside the workplace!  I bet you’ll find increased professional engagement, personal satisfaction, and happier team members.  Get curious, get energized, and get innovative.

FLASHPOINTS: Here’s An Idea

Innovation flourishes when grand ideation meets bold action.

The geneses of ingenious ideas often come from reflection on challenges or opportunities we’d like to solve or improve. If ideation & innovation aren’t really your thing, start enlisting blue sky thinkers to brainstorm and fantasize about your desired outcome. Good ideas often come from bad ones, or ideas that were good once upon a time, but are no longer viable. Generating grand ideas and fostering an environment of innovation begins with a positive, can-do attitude…so check your sense of reality at the door, and have fun.  Start small, if you must, but shake things up, and try a new approach whenever possible.  Here’s an idea, try taking a different route to work tomorrow and see what you learn. What old idea turned new could breathe life into your life?

LEADERS ARE READERS: Innovation and Entrepreneurship By Peter Drucker

“Management is the art of managing things and entrepreneurship is the art of living on chaos” – Peter Drucker

Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker is a classic look into the differences between innovation and entrepreneurship. We learn that management is more about control, strategy and process while entrepreneurship is a more chaotic, non-process, individual approach to business.

Most entrepreneurs stay at “arms length” from anything that’s related to management because it cramps their work style! However, to create enduring success, entrepreneurs must eventually embrace management principles, since they will burn out without effective management.

Drucker outlines the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship, identifying 7 sources of innovation:

  1. Unexpected events
  2. Incongruities between the expected and the actual
  3. New process requirements
  4. Unanticipated changes in industry or market structure
  5. Demographic changes
  6. Changes in perception, mood or meaning
  7. New knowledge

The most influential individuals and companies take advantage of one or more of these opportunities and developed systems and processes to maximize their success.

A prime example is Ray Kroc and McDonalds. He did not create the hamburger but rather developed systems and processes that make McDonald’s the famous company it is today.  J.P. Morgan didn’t invent banking and J.D. Rockefeller didn’t discover oil, yet they are synonymous with success in each industry.

If you’re looking to improve your business, this is a great book to pick up (or re-read if it’s already on your shelf).  Although business has moved forward in ways Drucker probably couldn’t have envisioned when the book was first published in 1985, the fundamental principles in this book are absolutely applicable today.

About the Author:

Peter Drucker is widely regarded as one of the most influential management thinkers of all time. He wrote more than 25 books. His writings helped drive major developments of the 20th century including privatization and decentralization. He started the Drucker Institute to help share his knowledge with young business leaders. He passed away in November 2005.

Buy The Book

Creative Espresso: Faceless Cog or Dream Achiever?

I stumbled on this sketch while surfing around the web last night, and found it really enlightening.  Thanks, Steve Sammartino, for cramming so many thought-provoking ideas into one awesome sketch.