As a leader and entrepreneur, I have a lot of ideas. It doesn’t matter where I am; I’m constantly thinking of new ways of doing things, new services to offer, new businesses to start or cool strategies for clients. Many leaders and clients I work with are similar in this regard.
However, my team at CREW hates this trait. They can find it disruptive or feel that I don’t value their contribution to the details because I’m always thinking ahead or evaluating how we can make things better.
I’m often caught in this tension. I understand the importance of process, procedure, and objective management but I also see that we can’t optimize the present at the expense of the future. It’s just hard to quantify or justify with the pressures of the day-to-day, especially in smaller organizations. I have friends and clients that experience the same tension, and it’s what often drives them to start a new business or division that they can control and experiment with.
My blog (and regular email) is a great case in point.
I started a personal website and writing a weekly blog in 2015. Many of you would have received it. It was intended to create value for leaders outside the confines of CREW. It was also my sandbox to talk about topics I felt were important to leaders, to experiment with social media, discover new forms of B-to-B lead generation, and see if building a personal brand helped generate new clients for a Professional Service firm.
At the end of 2016, our team felt my blog and personal brand started to take my attention away from CREW, so they wanted my writing to come under the CREW brand. I complied. The result? My passion for it died. My writing had to be on topics related more to marketing and strategy, which is still good but didn’t allow me the freedom to speak specifically to leaders. I couldn’t experiment and try new things as often as I would have liked. The audience was larger but more general in nature. And so, I lost the “spark.”
Innovation must be incubated. There must be space created, resources allocated, and time prioritized for new ideas to emerge. This involves risk that’s difficult to quantify. Most of your team will not understand why or what you’re doing. You can’t let those voices discourage you. When it comes to small risks that you believe in – move forward. Your team must understand that a visionary leader needs a sandbox and permission to experiment and have an outlet. If this leader doesn’t have that, a piece of them will die, and that’s more detrimental to the organization’s long-term health.
So, this is my reboot. A second chance at my personal brand. I’m planning to write regularly on new insights, strategy, lessons and ideas that matter. My audience is leaders – people who want to grow, improve, lead others well and ultimately impact the world.
Creating space for innovation is essential for the growth of every business. Thank you for being a part of my journey.