Why do I believe that leadership is the be all and end all? That it is the difference maker?
Simply because developing our leadership ability is the akin to developing our character.
And what has that got to do with innovation?
Well, innovation is the willingness to keep breaking things and keep breaking things and keep breaking things until they work better.
Yes, innovation is unreasonable and, as George Bernard Shaw said, it is led by the unreasonable man.
And, for intelligent, educated people to behave ‘unreasonably’ takes real character. It requires the willingness to keep learning from our mistakes – and not just keep repeating them – and then to apply the learning each and every time.
Here are a few quotes to help
Failure is not the problem, quitting is the real issue!
“I have often told people that failure isn’t the problem – quitting is the problem. If quitting is never an option, then failure is simply an opportunity to learn and move forward. Do that, and success will surely follow.”
Rex Maughan, owner of Forever Living Products, US$2.6bn turn over company, entirely owned by Rex and his family
Or take this view
Innovation is about making errors and more errors…
“Efficiency is the enemy of innovation. The processes of innovation move through trial and error, and error and error”
William Janeway,a well-known investor and theorist in the investment and software world.
Or this view
Failing comes before success
“I have never, never, never succeeded without first failing”
John Maxwell, leadership expert
All three of these leadership, innovation, business and investment experts is simply telling us to embrace failure, to love failure and to encourage failure.
They are tell us what we need to do. The question is whether we have the character to live through the failure and the disappointment? Do we have the willingness to look back clearly at failures and see what worked and what didn’t, so that we can move forward with insight?
If we have grown as people, as leaders, then yes, we will be able to do this. And, if we have grown as leaders, we will have the capacity to lead others through this process too.
And that’s why innovation always begins with character and leadership.