Debunking the Bestseller

A Lesson in the Status Quo, Risk-Taking, and the Gray Areas of Life and Business The other day, I received an unexpected phone call from Jeff Trachtenberg, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He said he wanted to talk about my bestselling book, Leapfrogging. At first, I was thrilled. Any first-time author would jump…

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Use Uncertainty & Surprise to Break-Through

Last week I had the good fortune of having my book Leapfrogging published as a “Manifesto” by 800-CEO-READ. Here’s a quick synopsis, or you can download the full version here. Most leaders are taught to avoid uncertainty. Big visions, carefully crafted strategies, and detailed plans are signs of great leadership. Surprise is the enemy. Or,…

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4 Leapfrogging Strategies for 2013

The New Year brings about resolutions to redefine the status quo. It’s usually an individual endeavor focused on fitness, relationships, or finances. But great things can happen when we apply the catalytic energy of the New Year to our teams and organizations. 2013 represents the ideal time to leapfrog our mental models and innovate our…

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10 Questions to Inspire Innovation

What Types of Questions Push Thinking and Inspire Innovation? Pushing thinking to find breakthroughs and innovate is as much about asking the right questions as finding the right answers. CIO Insight recently published a great summary of 10 questions that can be used for leapfrogging mindsets to foster innovation: 1. Accentuate the Positive “What experiences…

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The Power of Surprise

Why do we avoid uncertainty and surprise? Most leaders avoid uncertainty. Most organizations hate surprises. It makes sense. Predictability and control are the unquestioned holy grails of management. But could we be overlooking an essential and critical ingredient of breakthrough leadership and innovation? For example, every management book on Amazon with the word “surprise” in…

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5 Leadership Skills for Disruptive Innovation

What are the leadership competencies for disruptive innovation? Disruptive innovation is no longer the exception, it’s the rule. Just look at Blackberry, Blockbuster, Borders, and Kodak – all companies that missed opportunities to leapfrog to the next big thing. If we’re not proactively driving disruption, we’ll eventually need to react to it. Most leaders, however,…

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Why Too Much Power Stifles Innovation

Does power hinder or help our ability to innovate? When it comes to innovation, we all know that open-mindedness, deferring judgment, including diverse inputs from diverse people, and fostering collaboration inside and outside the organization are all success factors when going for big ideas that will make a big difference. But recent research from USC’s…

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Surprising Ice Cream – Magnum’s Breakthrough Innovation

Magnum uses the Power of Surprise for Breakthroughs So you think ice cream is for kids? Try telling that to Unilever who sells over a billion Magnum ice cream bars a year – many to adults. Magnum’s wild success is based on using the “Power of Surprise” in its product innovation and marketing. In the…

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Don’t Fear Failure, Fear Fear Itself

How does FEAR impact innovation? At many companies, there’s a lot of room for lip service, but little for real failure. We hear the catch phrases over and over: failure is necessary for success, we must fail faster to succeed sooner, and so on. But as soon as the possibility of actual failure arises, suddenly…

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Leading Innovation – Fighting Fires Burns Down the House

Why Fighting Everyday Fires will Burn Down Your House I recently had the opportunity to provide a guest blog post on LeaderLab, one of the leading blogs focused on leadership, innovation and strategy. The post is titled Leading for Innovation: Why Fighting Fires Burns Down the House. Here’s an excerpt: Whereas innovation used to be…

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