People who can change the game are as rare as hens teeth! They possess unique qualities that are a mixture of contradictions. They can dream up big ideas, create pictures that stick in people’s minds and at the same time possess the attributes of a chess master:
- Passion for the game
- Hard work
- Strong character
- Fighting spirit
Vision building requires a process
Each element of the Strategic Execution Model© deserves careful consideration. Working through this model will help align a leadership team behind a shared vision and a deep understanding of what it will take to execute a plan and make the vision a reality.
There is a direct correlation between a leader’s value to a business and their ability to execute on a vision, but great exemplars like the two below are hard to find.
Angela Ahrendts turned Burberry around. She developed a team at the fashion label that consistently outperformed the FTSE 100 creating millions in value for shareholders and Burberry’s stakeholder community.
Many executives can paint a picture of the future, and present a powerful vision, however, it is harder to find someone who can make it happen, who can land a man on the moon, or Mars for that matter. In my opinion leaders who can do this deserve a portion to the value they create. When a CEO executes a vision that transforms the value of a business in the same way as Ahrendts and Jobs, they deserve extraordinary rewards because their work is extraordinarily rare.
Look for paradigms to break
How many times have you approached a task or problem the same way that you always have?
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got! Henry Ford
Challenge yourself to think of alternative approaches and look at problems with a fresh perspective; a breakthrough approach is there to be discovered. If you don’t challenge yourself, you will miss opportunities to break paradigms, and the worst part, you won’t even notice it until someone else does it for you.
Breaking a paradigm creates step-changes that disrupt the way people perceive value. Take a moment to think about the iPhone; the team at Apple broke the paradigm of how phones were used to communicate. Before this iconic device entered our world, phones were seen as a device that allowed us to talk to each other over long distances. The iPhone shifted this paradigm from long distances to less than one meter.
This new device changed user behaviour, the iPhone allowed people to share pictures, songs, and cool apps, with someone sitting right beside them. We all take this value for granted now, it’s hard to imagine our lives without this kind of smart device which only arrived in our world June 2007.
The iPhone was no longer just a phone. The iPhone was a wallet of photos, it was a jukebox, a computer, an email terminal, a pager, a messenger, a social platform interface and the list goes on.
It’s all about the questions
To make this shift, the team at Apple showed leadership by not asking questions locked inside the old paradigm, i.e. questions about mobile phones and technology. Unlike Apple other mobile phone companies were probably asking good questions such as:
- What do they want now?
- What will they want in the future?
- And what would they value if they knew they could have it?
At the same time the iPhone team had moved to asking a new kind of question, a paradigm buster: what do they (our customers) carry in their wallet?
Faced with the same question a more traditional team may have reacted by dismissing the value of moving away from their normal train-of-thought –“we are not in the business of making wallets.” but now, it is obvious why this is a better question because Apple broke the paradigm.
Breaking out of “old” requires creativity
|What was the train of thought inside the Apple team? Where do you carry your phone? Jacket , or handbag. What else do you carry there? Wallet. What is in your wallet?|
Encouraging teams to break paradigms, and lead the way, is one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of leadership; this is one characteristic that I have found to be common in the most successful leaders.
They ask great questions and set out exciting challenges.
Their behaviour is always in stark contrast to those would be/want-to-be leaders, who think they should give their teams the answers, or worse, that the answers they think up are the only right answers.
Breaking paradigms and thinking “outside of the box” is crucial for achieving breakthrough results.
Every question you generate for each element of the Strategic Execution model® will take you closer to finding a paradigm shift and the opportunity to create new value.
The purpose of paradigm-busting is to add value to the people you serve and in so doing enhance the value of your enterprise by making it more capable of leveraging ideas.