True Leaders Have Strong Innovative Tendencies

May 30, 2012

True leaders provide the thought leadership necessary for, and create an open environment that fosters, genuine creativity—leading to true innovation in the policies, procedures, programs, and tools used by their organizations. As Alexander Hiam (the author of Business Innovation for Dummies) said, “Innovation is, in my book, simply a fertile union of creativity and leadership.”

Although true leaders do not suggest or implement change just for the sake of change (since doing so is simply disruptive, and creates unnecessary “churn” in an organization), they are not afraid of change. In fact, they embrace change for the benefits it brings.

True leaders have a genuine interest in helping their colleagues, teams, and organizations be as efficient and as effective as possible—thus they look for innovative ways of enhancing the organization’s productivity. You’ll often hear true leaders say, “Can’t we do this better, with less effort?”

Even then, when they innovate, they focus on doing so in a non-disruptive manner—with the understanding that changes in policies and procedures, as well as in technology, need to be well planned for, appropriately communicated, and rolled out in a fashion that leads to welcome adoption vs. disdainful resistance.

To affect positive change, true leaders cultivate a culture of creative thinking where “the rules” are challenged, and challenges are faced head-on.

Great managers may be very good at keeping a successful business operation and running smoothly. True (and innovative) leaders, however, strive for excellence—because simply doing things well just doesn’t light the fire of a true leader.

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area


True Leaders Bear in Mind the Long-Term Impacts of Short-Term Decisions

November 22, 2011

True leaders avoid the temptation to focus on short-term results to the exclusion of long-term impacts. In other words, in each decision they make they consider the long-term implications just as much as (if not more than) the short-term benefits.

For example, if a particular course of action will greatly increase profits during the next quarter (which might delight shareholders and executive management)—and yet that same course of action will also lead to major customer satisfaction issues (and likely reduced revenue) in the long-term, a true leader will know it best to come up with other options for increasing short-term profits.

Shortsightedness (something I often call “chartsmanship” because of how this disease causes some leaders to focus on numbers to the exclusion of quality) is an affliction that can make a leader appear to be making wise and profitable decisions in the short term, while their lack of focus on the future causes long-term harm to the sustainability of the organization. True leaders do not get caught in this trap, because they are not motivated by immediate gratification and pats-on-the-back. Instead, they focus on making decisions that will developing a sustainable organization with opportunities for a bright future (and not just a glowing next quarter).

True leaders maintain an awareness of the “big picture” as spelled out in their team’s / division’s / organization’s / corporation’s long term goals, objectives, and business strategies. Ask any true leader why they decided on their current “short-term” course of action. and they’ll tell you how it fits into the overall long-term plan. Actually, you probably don’t need to ask them–because true leaders will generally communicate how and why their decisions fit into the broader, long-term strategy as a means of getting everyone on board.

The net is: True leaders aren’t focused on shortsighted actions or short-term fixes, but on providing “true leadership” that will take their organizations through the next quarter, the next year, and beyond.

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area