In 2009, the idea of a single leader behind whom we follow in one main direction is CRAZY. Instead, great organizations, great classrooms, great churches and families must tap their bio-diversity of everyday leaders, getting contributions from throughout the organization – regardless of rank, seniority, gender, age, etc. Great organizations – and we have some awesome examples in Michigan – seek and expect value and innovation from all their people – their everyday leaders. Hopefully, your organization is becoming more collaborative, freeing, supporting, and challenging, so that you are engaged and important and productive.
But, you don’t have to wait. This is a time for innovation at every level. If you don’t want to get laid off, watch your unit or company go under, or feel frustrated that they keep asking you to do more with less, then innovate and produce phenomenal value. Take it on yourself to move things forward. Here are some great ways to feed your mind to think and act innovatively:
- Read about innovation! Check out last month’s Fast Company It’s about the 50 most innovative companies. Get infected with the spirit of Ideo and Amazon and Hulu. They’ll lubricate your mind. (Actually, every issue of Fast Company gives me ideas and an attitude of innovation. You can subscribe here.)
- Start to Twitter at www.twitter.com. People post little nuggets with great information and leads. You’ll have to learn to avoid people who are telling you things like “I’m petting the cat,” or “I’m going to the bathroom,” but with a little work you can find people who love to share priceless information and innovative ideas. If you want to learn a ton in a week, go to www.twitter.com, open an account (free and takes seconds) and follow GuyKawasaki, or go to his site www.guykawasaki to get started. Don’t just follow:
- Share nuggets of your expertise – information you have: great websites, videos, powerpoints on topics that you know well. You’ll rather quickly start to develop followers (I guess then you’re a leader J ) and build a community of people sharing information. Since you probably don’t have a travel and training budget any more, it’s a great way to meet people and learn new things.
Don’t just learn. Innovate. Act. So, for example, if you want your organization to generate more revenue, then SELL – whether you have the title of salesperson or not. Here’s an example. If you’re a Michiganian or a Michigander and you want Michigan to come screaming back, then invite people to come back to Michigan to vacation. Through email, Facebook, or Twitter, you can share the incredible Michigan tourism ads that make us all remember what it’s like to be “up north.” Invite a cousin, sibling, friend, business relation to come (back) and see why we’re nuts about this place! The MEDC has created a tourism campaign, but we have 10 million salespeople who can help spread the story.
What could you do – from where you are – if you thought, “I am the leader. I do not wait. I am the leader, and I have to learn. I am the leader, the world is changing, and I’ve got to innovate.” Take charge, and
Lead with your best self,
p.s. For more on innovation, listen to the Everyday Leadership show, Saturday from 7-9 AM. Guests include execs from Google and ePrize!