I love Mike Myatt’s blog. A leader’s leader, Mike has a wealth of leadership experience and insight that he boils down into quick but prudent lessons everyday. I remember speaking with him on the phone at the beginning of the year, and it was clear to me that whilst Mike works with top companies and is a revered figure in leadership theory circles, he walks his talk. The very fact that he time for a phone call with me also speaks volumes about him.
One of Mike’s main things is focus. This isn’t just a singular focus on one thing, but it’s about adjusting focus as a balance between near sighted and far sighted. He famously says that “It’s not leadership or management, it’s leadership and management. It’s not strategy or tactics, it’s strategy and tactics”, which gives you an idea about this approach.
It is on the subject of focus that I clipped this article of his that demands some treatment from the Friends here at our blog. In his post, “Ideas Don’t Equal Innovation“, Mike lays out 15 elements to measure what you could do against what you should do. We have no shortage of ideas today and thus the defining characteristic of strong leaders, particularly in the digital space, is a focus that is not deterred easily by what they could do. We’ve certainly all been in that place where we’ve been governed by could instead of should.
Mike’s 15 Filters
1. The idea should be generated within a solid framework for decisioning. It should be developed as a solution to a problem or to exploit an opportunity. The idea should be in alignment with the overall vision and mission of the enterprise.
2. If the idea doesn’t provide a unique competitive advantage it should at least bring you closer to an even playing field.
3. Any new idea should preferably add value to existing initiatives, and if not, it should show a significant enough return on investment to justify the dilutive effect of not keeping the main thing the main thing.
4. Put the idea through a risk/reward and cost/benefit analysis.
5. Whether the new idea is intended for your organization, vendors, suppliers, partners or customers it must easy to use. Usability drives adoptability, and therefore it pays to keep things simple.
6. Just because an idea sounds good doesn’t mean it is You should endeavor to validate proof of concept based upon detailed, credible research.
7. Nothing is without risk, and when you think something is without risk, that is when you’re most likely to end-up in trouble. All initiatives surrounding new ideas should include detailed risk management provisions.
8. Adopting a new idea should be based upon solid business logic that drives corresponding financial engineering and modeling. Be careful of high level, pie-in-the-sky projections.
9. Any new ideas should contain accountability provisions. Every task should be assigned and managed according to a plan and in the light of day.
10. Any new ideas being adopted must lead to measurable objectives. Deliverables, benchmarks, deadlines, and success metrics must be incorporated into the plan.
11. It must be detailed and deliverable on a schedule. The initiative should have a beginning, middle and end.
12. Ideas need to be incorporated into strategic initiatives and not constitute disparate systems. They should be incorporated into integrated solutions that eliminate redundancies, and build in tactical leverage points.
13. Ideas should contain a road-map for versioning and evolution that is in alignment with other strategic initiatives and the overall corporate mission.
14. A successful idea cannot remain in a strategic planning state. It must be actionable through tactical implementation.
15. Senior leadership must champion any new idea being adopted. If someone at the C-suite level is against the new idea, it will likely die on the cutting-room floor.
Your Leading Thoughts
I don’t want you to discuss all 15. You might want to clip this for later, but there’s too much here for you guys to take time out now to spend a length of time discussing, instead:
- Pick 2 out of the 15 that are issues that you have faced recently and have had victory in. Share your story and your lessons so that we can learn form your practical implementation of these points.