What does it take to lead effectively through difficult times? There is an important insight from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 election campaign.
Long before the days of the internet and digital media, candidates relied heavily on printed brochures to spread their campaign messages. Roosevelt’s campaign team had just printed and were ready to distribute three million campaign brochures, complete with Roosevelt’s picture and campaign messages across the country. His team learned at the last minute that they did not get the photographer’s permission to use his photograph in the brochure before printing it. The copyright law at the time allowed the photographer to demand as much as $1 per campaign brochure. Three million dollars in 1912 was an astronomical sum, and would have crippled Roosevelt’s re-election efforts.
The alternative to reprint three million brochures would be tremendously costly and could cause serious delays.
How did Roosevelt’s manager respond to this difficult situation?
He composed a telegram to the Chicago based photographer with the following message:
“We are planning to distribute many pamphlets with Roosevelt’s picture on the cover. This will be great publicity for the studio whose photograph we use. How much will you pay us to use yours? Respond immediately.”
The photographer, excited and flattered, offered to pay $250 for the use of his photograph and the potential crisis ended.
Those that lead themselves and others through difficult times, like the campaign manager, learn to see difficult times as opportunities and look at situations from a variety of viewpoints. The next time you feel confronted by a challenging situation, use your imagination to look at the setting from several perspectives. Surely, one will be a creative alternative to your continued success.
Enjoy your October news2use use.
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
Entrepreneurial leaders are in high demand. Here are four ways you can develop yourself as an entrepreneurial leader:
- Look for the opportunities in constraints
Hertz did not create Uber, AT & T, nor Deutsche Telekom invented Skype and Marriott did not start Airbnb. These industry giants, all market leaders and experts in their markets, missed these opportunities. Entrepreneurial leaders, surrounded by constraints, soundly out-innovated them.
Entrepreneurial leaders welcome constraints because they understand that this stimulates the innovative process. Start welcoming constraints as an entrepreneurial catalyst.
- Transform your light switch mentality to a rheostat mindset
Stop refusing to consider an idea or finding ways that something will not work, turn up your rheostat mindset to possibilities. Replace words like or with and, and take but out of your responses. Instead of saying, “That would not work in this market”, (light switch off) stimulate the conversation by asking, “If it were to work in this market, what would have to happen?” (Turn your rheostat).
The light switch mentality has only two positions (on and off) and using the rheostat mindset, you have a wider range of possibilities to consider.
- Drive to put ideas into visual representations, using process visuals
Pictures are very powerful to help people focus their energy and creativity collectively. Encourage people to visualize what they want to change, create or eliminate. What does an ideal outcome look like? How is the customer influenced in this process?
- Become your fiercest competitor
Ask your team to imagine that they are now outside of the company, and working as entrepreneurial leaders of a competitive start up. How would you win business from your own company? What would be your priorities and path to success? Which of these ideas could you then cultivate back in your own organization?
You may not become the next José Rodríguez, Ritesh Agarwal or Susan Wojcicki; however, each of us can learn the skills to become more entrepreneurial. This makes you more valuable and opens up new possibilities for you and your organization.
For You & Your Team
The Collaborative Cocktail Hour
Many leadership teams agree that spending more time together, like having a regular lunch is a good idea. And it is, because you develop better relationships with colleagues and can address team issues.
Let us take this to the next level. Consider hosting a “collaborative cocktail hour” at work. You do not need to move to alcoholic cocktails, as there are some very tasty non-alcoholic cocktails that you can share with other teams and functions that you collaborate with.
One of the single biggest areas where value can be created, and it is often not, is the space between business functions. There are potential products, services and solutions that exist in the gray space between functions, yet are often not exploited because of the silo blinders people wear.
Be the first team in your company to host a collaborative cocktail hour, and invite interested parties to create integrative value that is waiting for you.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
A fad or functioning asset in your business?
Robert Greenleaf, in his essay “The Servant as Leader”, first published in 1970 said this:
“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them, there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
Servant leadership is a powerful concept, provided it becomes more than fancy buzz words shared on company posters. Servant leadership means to serve, to provide service.
When the executive team says they believe in servant leadership, they are calling themselves a service group, in my eyes. This means creating service level agreements, that is, promises, with the stakeholders they serve.
Do not let something as powerful as Servant Leadership be a fad in your leadership team. Anchor it in service level agreements that hold you accountable for your services.
For more information about Robert Greenleaf and Servant Leadership, see:
People, Places & Technology
Dr. Pero Mićić and the FutureManagementGroup are one of Europe’s leading authorities in helping leaders and their organizations understand the future. Leaders who realize that their organization will fail or thrive based on the quality of assumptions that they make about the future and the tractive power of their vision come to Pero and team for advice.
For information about Pero’s Autumn Road Show, “Leader’s Vision Day”, go to the links above. To learn more about Pero’s process for understanding and creating value in the future, visit his Leader’s Foresight channel.
Thought for the Day
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”