5 Counterintuitive Management and Innovation Tips From Rising Leaders

Business these days might as well require us to be tactical geniuses because it’s like navigating a field of landmines. One wrong step can completely blow you out of the water. The risks obviously aren't keeping everyone at bay, as new leaders are rising to face the challenges during these fast-paced, turbulent times. To help them on this quest, great leaders and managers of today share their most valuable management and innovation tips.

#1 Swiss Cheese

“Be candid with yourself and acknowledge what you know and don’t know. Select supportive team members who possess the skills necessary to take the business in the right direction.”

- Richard J. Avdoian, President, and CEO of Midwest Business Institute, Inc.

Self-awareness is a quintessential tool in this mechanism that stands as the foundation for the proper development of a true leader. No system is perfect, and no person is perfect, which is why it’s vital to start off with this knowledge. Successful entrepreneurship is a collective effort. It means nothing to be aware of the things you’re missing if you can’t fill them in.

Where does Swiss cheese fit in? Avdoian continues his analogy with a comparison that really makes it easier to see his point.

“See yourself as a piece of Swiss cheese–know your holes and add others (slices) whose substance, when layered on your slice, eventually creates a solid, firm, unified block of cheese. A single slice of cheese with its many holes can easily be pulled apart, but a solid block is very difficult to pull apart.”

The moral of the story – we’re all stronger together. Never think that your solitary efforts will be enough.

#2 100 Flowers Blossoming

“I believe companies should step back and not describe themselves based on what they do but the benefit they provide.”

- Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva, formerly of Apple

Apple basically reinvented the word “innovation” and given how Kawasaki was part of this revolutionary project, he probably knows what he’s talking about. Kawasaki’s process for true innovation is quite a lengthy one, which requires many steps and patience.

“Let 100 flowers blossom. You may be surprised how people use your product.”

Kawasaki presses on the importance of not worrying if your product doesn’t end up the way you intended it to be. Your main focus should be how people make use of it.

#3 Opposition

Kawasaki also addressed another important piece to this puzzle – what the actual public’s reaction will be. He noted that the most difficult thing to come to terms with is that the more innovation you bring, the more opposition you will have to face. But that shouldn’t discourage the creation of polarizing products, which he considers pivotal.

“These kinds of products create emotions. Some people will love it, some will hate it and that’s okay.”

The only thing you can and should do is to ignore the senseless opposition, pluck out the constructive criticism, and move toward improving your product and bettering your strategies.

#4 Smart Team Members

One of the biggest rookie mistakes one can make is consider that being a leader is the same thing as being the best, the smartest, and the most innovative person in the room. Leaders who surround themselves with people beyond them, whether we’re talking about experience, intellect, or ideas, are almost guaranteed to fail.

“Leaders find success when they create teams composed of people who are experts in their areas, and many times, smarter than the leader who’s hiring them. Great leaders give them room to grow and innovate. These are the leaders who people want to work for.”

- Tatiana Lyons, the Principal, and Owner of Your Creativity Leads

In fact, it’s better if YOU end up being the lesser person in the room. Because this means you get to amass experience and knowledge from your team members.

“Unlike the micromanager leader whose insecurity leads them to create teams that include people ‘just like them.’ These teams may make the leader feel comfortable, versus challenged for the purposes of creating the best work.”

#5 Leadership as a Responsibility

“My best leadership tip is to think of leadership as a responsibility as much as an opportunity.”

- Michael Talve, the Founder and Managing Director of The Expert Institute

The mindset of a leader is an abstract concept, but it’s discoverable nonetheless. Many of us associate leadership with the position required to achieve goals and get the projects done. But the moment we start thinking of it also as a responsibility, particularly towards your team and people in general, you contour a new perspective.

“Effective leaders understand that they are responsible for everyone that they are leading, and consider that responsibility as the main concern of their position. If you ever lose empathy for, and dedication to, the people you are leading, you are not being a leader.”

Final Words

As long as businesses will continue to exist and to strive, they will also continue to evolve, just like the world. Strategies will change, which is why it’s interesting to think whether these management and innovation tips will still be applicable.

By Amanda Wilks

About the author

Amanda Wilks is one of the ever analytic minds behind the ambitious Job Application project. Her passion for entrepreneurship, HR management and career-building advice is almost religious. She has gathered it all to help those interested in changing their career gears and businesses towards success.