By leading change, you create the future. Thus, leaders are always in the future. They walk in the present yet in the future at the same time. In order to get to the future, systems and many other mechanisms are created.
Make no mistake, every system and tool that is developed is not always necessary. Sometimes systems and strategies used are seasonal. Some will be more effective than other systems over time. Others will last a shorter time.
It is easier to hold on to things that work. It is almost effortless to hold on to strategies, tools and systems that really work. One of the challenges of leadership is identifying what needs to be done when and how.
Leaders are not only responsible for determining where the pursuit of their cause should take them next, but they are also responsible for the how. It is important to pay attention to how you meet your goals because it can derail you.
One of the reasons change is feared is because leaders have not paid enough attention to the impact of change they are bringing in relation to its alignment to the vision.
Heretic leaders create change within their enterprises to enable them to bring about change in the world.
You cannot bring about change in the world without allowing change in your enterprise and strategies. We cannot expect to change the world if we cannot change our enterprises. In fact, your enterprise is the means for change in the world.
Thus, you do not have the luxury to make systems and strategies you develop sacred. This means that you must hold very lightly any means you develop to get to the vision. Embrace this simple principle: the means to attaining your vision must not be sacred.
Allow your team to mess your systems up to change them for the greater, so that you are able to make a greater change in the world.
When leaders protect the means more than what the means is supposed to accomplish, i.e. the vision, the end is near for their enterprise.
Be completely sold out to your vision, such that even systems that have worked well and that may still be working well are not off-limits at the possibility of making them greater. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.
‘Bright and early’ is a contradiction. Anyone that has woken up early, really early, will tell you it is not bright. If you wake up early enough, you will either see little or no sunlight at all. As much as this applies to the sun at the start of the day, it applies to innovation in life and leadership.
If you are “bright and early”, you are up before many people are. You are ahead of everybody else. It means you are ‘ahead of the curve’. It means that you do not have the light of the full sun but when it does come you have more to show for it than those who waited for the sun to show up.
Starting out in the true “bright and early” means that you will work in the dark. Innovation rarely exists in full daylight. People willing to work in the dark birth innovation. Innovators are people who are willing to work without knowing fully how something is going to work.
All they know is that for them to be ahead when the sun rises is that they need to be up before it rises. Innovation means trying something out before others have. It means running ahead of the sunlight.
If you are not willing to run in the dark, ahead of the light then innovation will not grace you.
There is no way you can be early with something, a technology, an idea etc, when you start when everyone else does and stop when they do. Those who create the future are those willing to walk in the dark of early.
Those are willing to work with limited information to create something that shatters the limitations the late sleepers thought could not be pushed. Late sleepers are those who think they are early when they rise with the sun.
The believers of the fake bright and early awaken to the shattered boundaries and by those who practice the true bright and early and think they are on the cutting edge, but are actually behind. Innovators do not wait for all the information they need. They do not wait for perfect conditions either.
Innovators work at something because ‘early’ gives the advantage of determining the future
If farmers waited to see how much rain they will receive, first they would never plant in time. If they wait to see how much rainfall they will receive, they will be too late. You cannot be an innovator, or leading the curve until you make darkness your friend. Embrace not knowing and seeing fully and clearly as part of the journey of creating a future that the late sleepers will celebrate as new, when in reality it is old for you.
If you wait to rise with the sun, where everything is clear, visible and certain, you will never innovate. “Bright and early” should be changed to “dark and early”. That is more true and accurate to innovation in life and leadership.
Leader, your enterprise mirrors you. Compartmentalization is a myth. Those you lead will follow who you are and not just what you do. Leadership is not just pointing direction. It is not only casting vision and motivating your enterprise to pursue it. Leadership is also about being a model.
People who serve under your leadership are not just looking for instructions from you. They are looking for a model on how to carry themselves. They are looking at you to learn what passion for the vision of your enterprise looks like.
That is why the best way to train leaders transcends training courses. The best way to build great leaders and organizations is not in the training manuals you put together. The best way to train leaders and build a great enterprise is in by showing them how to be.
Hence, the stumble of the leader becomes the stumble of the enterprise. Remember: compartmentalization is a myth. Organizations do suffer at a leader’s consistent bad character. People looking at leaders in your organization from the outside make your leader synonymous with your organization.
Those you lead within your organization merge who you are as a person, with your function. In other words, there is no way what you do cannot be somehow attached to your function.
The reason is no one, including you leader, is one-dimensional. Thus, we only get to know people better when we can see them in more dimensions. When your team sees you stumble, they are not so much bothered about your stumble.
They are more interested in how you get up. They are curious to see if you will take ownership or responsibility. They want to see whether you will uphold the integrity that you put in their training manuals and on the values of your enterprise.
However, how you respond in your stumble is the model your teams will embrace. Thus, the stumble of the leader can be the stumble of the organization.
How you come back from a misstep, not the misstep itself is what your team is watching and may just mimic. They may follow wholly, in part or even better your act. Either way, leader, take care that you do not make your stumble that of your team’s.
Is there any relationship between how a leaders carries themselves and what their enterprise becomes?
Initiating and leading change is the heart of heretic leadership. Change is most meaningful and significant when it is caused and not imposed by the environment. Great leaders are great friends with change. Change is not competition or a goal but a means that must never be laid down.
Change creates and destroys. Worthwhile change destroys to build greater. Change for the sake of change is wasted effort and resource. Change is not worth the trouble if all it does is change how things are done but not adding value to the ultimate result or product.
Change is contrary. It does not agree with the status quo. When you find yourself fighting to keep the status quo you may just be fighting opportunity for greater.
Change is always there. Fighting change is useless. Being intentional with driving change is what changing things. Being comfortable with the new is how leaders become friends with change. Change is how you get to new. Change is how you get to fresh.
Change is also scary. Because it also introduces the unknown, it evokes fear in the hearts of those that prefer the predictable. The predictable is boring… Great leaders understand that predictable does not get attention. Change creates adventure. Change is an adventure.
Nothing can be greater without change.
Change is not optional. It is either you cause it or you stumble because of it. You either get with change or you become a victim of it. You can let change dictate your new direction or you can dictate the change and thereby determine the new direction.
Change is disruptive. You cannot introduce changes without disruption. Introducing change is inviting disruption.
Change is inspiring. When leaders look hard enough, they will realize that the possibilities that come with change are always more than we initially realize. Great leaders intentionally create space in their diaries to explore, in a deeper way other opportunities change is likely to present.
Asking for change is asking for all of the above. The paradox: nothing can be greater without change. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.