Leadership Innovation – a Chinese View

by pearl zhu

leadership innovation

Leadership Innovation: 7 Game-Changing Mind Sets for the Future of Leadership

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” .
F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Today’s downturn economy, accelerated globalization, energy shortage and many other uncertainties have made the world become a complex, unpredictable ever changing macro-environment.

In the future the leader may have to play “the Big Brain Game”,  see through the problems with many different angles, and solve the problems with all possible alternative steps and solutions, more counting on the collective wisdom rather than a dominant voice or absolute right or wrong answers.

The silver bullet for the digitized global world is innovation.  From my perspective in China, there are seven game changing mindsets that collectively will cause innovation to occur.

1.  Be Authentic

Only through the truth, do we come to grace. The value proposition for tomorrow’s leader would be authentic, unique and diversified. Being authentic also means to inspire innovation, to become the change agent, and to make positive influence.

An authentic way to stand out is to have a point of view.

2. Pursue a Life Purpose Greater than Self

In today’s world of “Pull”, wikipedia and web 2.0 technologies provide unprecedented opportunities for any individual to build up a strong professional and personal brand, and become the leader in his or her own domain.

3.  Curiosity is Imperative

Curiosity is a critical piece of raw intelligence, curiosity may even keep people look younger, think fresher and act more flexible. Curiosity is the original drive to motivate people explore broader, learn deeper and help us step out of comfort zone and achieve bigger.

Curiosity nurtures the lifetime learner and creative thinker.

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4.  Cross-Boundary Leadership

The world has been interwoven through the internet and all the other continuously emerging technologies.  Crossing boundaries such as cross-cultural, cross-industrial, and cross-functional, leadership innovation is becoming the new normal.  The new leadership is a bridge, perhaps the only bridge, to connect difference, engage the diversified talent and reframe the new business model.

5.  Unconventional Thinkers

To be unconventional is to be strategic; to be strategic is to be innovative and beyond; the future of leaders need cultivate 4 “I”s (Insight, Imagination, Innovation and Improvement); From Sunzi 36 stratagems to the poetry of Tagore “Stray Bird”, multi-cultural wisdom is the hotbed source of stimulus for the unconventional.

6.  Ask Effective Questions

The question about future is more critical than an answer about yesterday.   Where today’s executives try to answer and micromanage the short-term concerns, tomorrow’s leaders focus on asking the effective questions to lead the future, and draw others into solutions.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

7.  Add Some Fresh Styles

Fashion fades, but style lives: the entrepreneur’s spirit, the green lover, or the global mindset are more than welcomed, no matter which “color is your parachute,” the beauty of diversity will be essential to the future of leadership.

The management of previous generations has brought authority, idealism and efficiency, sometimes hierarchy, greed and arrogance; their philosophy might be the game of “WIN”;  The future of leadership could be more open, colorful and collaborative.  The nature of leadership is more about pursuing the life call of purpose, to lead through influence.

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