Leading Creative Leaders

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

Every company has creative people. Creativity has always been at the center of business. As more companies adopt a culture of open innovation a new style of leadership is emerging. Collaborative leaders take a more open approach in the workplace.

When given the power to do so, each person is not just a leader, they are creative as well. Most employers have employees who underneath it all are creative with several ideas for what they do. Most organizations want the ideas generated to come from the top of the company.

Much of your company’s success depends on ideas that keep you on the cutting edge. According to management experts, leading a team of creative employees needs to be more of an empowered and inspired management style. Creative people do not need managers, they need leaders. These individuals are capable of coming up with new formulas, new technologies, or new processes that change the game.

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.”

 ~Malcolm Gladwell

Leading creative employees who are actually creative leaders help organizations stay creative and innovative. This is of course only when the company leaders allow this to take place. Yet, more and more businesses and organizations are shifting their strategies to become creative and innovative. For example, organizations who want to thrive beyond survival mode are hiring people who are creative and innovative. No longer are they just looking for “ordinary” employees just to fill a vacancy.

Leading creative people is one of the most challenging skills for executives but for many businesses this is a critical success factor. The basic tension that leaders of creative people have to be able to manage is between exercising management control and creating a culture which allows creative people to flourish and go beyond expectation.

According to Chris Grivas, principal of Chris Grivas Consulting and co-author of The Innovative Team, “the best way learning leaders can teach creativity is to model it.”

These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise.  These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. Creative people are different. They deliver new ideas and approaches, but they come with their quirks. You can’t lead creative employees like you lead “normal” or ordinary employees.

What if you allowed your employees to generate ideas? After all, your employees are the ones who create and produce these ideas for the company they work for.  Creative individuals prefer to work without running to a supervisor or manager every time a decision needs to be made, are self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught.

Tell your employees what to do, but not how to do it. You can still hold them accountable for the results, but don’t force them to embrace a certain process.

Ask Your Employees for their Input: If you ask, you need to consider their input. If you’re not really going to use their input, it’s better not to even ask.

In some organizations, the executives of the company would not accept any of the input from their employees and found that many left to work for their competitors.

If you want to build an innovative company, you need to find employees who think both inside and outside the box.

Know that they’ll be emotionally attached to what they create. So, if you decide not to use their creation, you’ll have to process that appropriately and not abruptly.

You need to give them a deadline, but it better be reasonable. Creative people need room to dream and let their ideas percolate.

Motivate them with praise. They’ll react when the extrinsic rewards are taken away, but they’re really intrinsically motivated. If you ignore creative employees, they may stop contributing. Some even leave to work for the competition.

They’ll get easily bored if they find themselves stuck in the routine. They need the freedom to take on new challenges and opportunities and hate to get stuck in maintenance mode.

They deliver new ideas, but they dread the details.

They need a creative and participative environment. Creative people need the fuel that other creative people generate.

When leading creative people, keep in mind that they may–

  • Think they know more than anyone (or know everything)
  • Do not want to be led (know what, how and why)
  • Do not want to follow the process.

Leading creative people require smart leadership.  Smart leaders help creative employees contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish.

Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss.  (Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve.  These creative people can contribute beyond expectations.)

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making

mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook


Expressing Your Creativity Independent of Others

Some people express their creativity through art, photography, poetry, writing, dance, cooking, making things with their hands, etc. The world seems to be divided into “creative” and “non-creative” types, and too many people resign themselves to the latter category. (Facing the scary paths on our life & leadership journey)- re-Work Under Title

David Kelley, the founder of the design firm IDEO and a professor at Stanford University, says that “Creative confidence is the natural human ability to come up with breakthrough ideas and the courage to act on them.” Self-efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome. Innovation is an economic imperative that calls for more people to be innovating, more often.

“You are creative. All you need to do is find ways to express to express your creativity.”

-Lorrin L. Lee

Most people do not express themselves through their creativity because of getting criticized or judged by others. Some even do not want to show or experience failure as it is an embarrassment to them. Too many people are afraid of failure, when in reality it is through failure that one eventually achieves success and breakthrough. “Fear of failure” from childhood that has been in your thought patterns not just holds you back from doing things you want to do or try, it also holds you back from thinking creatively or on an innovative basis.

Real creative and innovative types sometimes want these things to take place as it lets them know of how they can improve what they are working on. “The inescapable link between failure & innovation is a lesson you can only learn through doing.” – David & Tom Kelley

Creativity is within each of us. Oh, yes, it is especially buried by the routine work you do on a daily basis. Interestingly, sometimes the spark of creativity is dimmed by criticisms, work obligations you do or just simple neglect.

Expressing your thinking when you create an idea or produce a breakthrough result demonstrates thinking inside-and/or-outside-the-box. The difficulty here is that many people, when as a child you were criticized for the creativity you were trying to produce. This can get ingrained into you and continue into adulthood.

Creative Confidence

Too many adults lost their creativity as a child and moved on to other things away from being creative. This gap from childhood to adulthood has a lot of adults cringing when it comes to talking about unconventional ways to move a business forward for greater success.

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments
Guided Mastery of Creative Confidence

Guided mastery is the process of overcoming your fears through a series of small steps. In learning how to get your creativity back, creative confidence helps you with four independent processes or steps you can work through. These include:

Reclaim Your Creative Confidence: David and Tom Kelley “The world seems to divide into ‘creatives’ and ‘noncreatives,’ and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.”

Break challenges down into small steps and then build confidence by succeeding on one after another. The process may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but the discomfort quickly fades away and is replaced with new confidence and capabilities.

To regain creative confidence, here are 4 strategies for getting you past your fears that can hold you back from showing your creative independence.

Fear of the Messy Unknown

Being creative in problem solving involves creating an environment where people can generate ideas without fear of criticism. In brainstorm sessions, no idea is a bad idea. You want to generate as many ideas as possible.

Fear of Being Judged

In being creative and innovative, you just may get people to criticize or judge your ideas. This can be a good thing as they may actually be giving you some food for thought to improve on your ideas. Do not always take criticism or judgment as being negative. Good feedback can be more helpful to what you want to do than not at all.

Fear of the First Step

Who hasn’t sat staring at a blank computer screen or a blank piece of paper in front of you, unable to take the first step on a project? Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning. Once you get started, your ideas will begin to flow.

Fear of Losing Control

You need other people to help spur your thinking, test your ideas and to give you feedback. Involving others does mean letting go of at least some control.

Broaden Your Perspective

A little confidence in creativity leads to a lot of confidence in everything else.

There are no rules.

Don’t judge your thoughts.

If you’re stuck, take a break.

There will never be “wrong” art. It may not turn out the way you want it to, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Develop Reciprocal Trust

Trust your co-workers even when they criticize or judge your ideas. They may actually be giving you some food for thought to improve your idea.

The world needs more creative leaders who are not afraid or fearful of creativity. How do you react with creativity through your employees? Being independent when you express your ideas to your employees or co-workers can say a lot about you.

Is it time for you to create your own independence and re-gain your creative side for you to thrive?

Pushing the Envelope to Create Breakthrough Innovations

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston S. Churchill

Taken to mean different things to different people, “Pushing the Envelope” no matter what doing your best means you. Radical innovations sometimes called “Breakthroughs”, is what may need to happen in your workplace. With each of your employees having their own ideas and thoughts on being creative and on innovating what they see, the shift in the workplace is to motivate better than before to get everyone on-board and engaged.

“To push the edge of the envelope”, “pushing the outside of the envelope” are both statements to motivate you and your employee’s to use strengths, skills and talent to generate your best ideas, create those ideas and produce them as great breakthrough results. Organizations that have succeeded have done so not by following the rules of conventional wisdom, but by breaking them.

“If you think you’ve already made it, that’s when you can fall short and go backwards. I’m constantly pushing forward and chasing the element of perfection.”
-Jason Derulo

Innovating the Way

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”

Opportunity would be lost if the package simply restored things as they were. Creating new ways of doing business, you need a combination of aligning your people with processes and systems that are not the old ways.

Innovation is concerned with bringing something new into being to meet an unmet need. It provides value where previously little to any was being delivered. If there was an easy way to innovate in everyone would be doing it already. Rather, everyone has their own specific steps or formula they use to generate, create and produce their ideas into breakthrough results.

Raising the Bar

Whether you are an employee or employer, raising the bar for projects to be worked on helps challenge what you do. Expecting your employees to create and produce greater results than “ordinary” employees helps move your business to the next level of success. Your employees get to use their strengths, skills and talent to their potential.

Empower smart people who push the envelope within the boundaries of your core values. Involve everyone in idea generation. Don’t create two classes of organizational citizens, those who can think and those who do. Allow everyone to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Innovation and ideation is pointless without buy-in and support from top management. What about getting buy-in from your employees- the people who generate ideas, create and produce the work?

Work only on ideas that can move the needle of the company’s bottom line. This is where you most likely set the bar so high that no new idea can actually pass. Sustained innovation is never the result of following the conventional rules, but of breaking them. Embrace a strategic approach to identifying, encouraging and executing on innovative ideas, breakthrough products are born.

Explore the Wide Range of Possible Solutions

Develop some core solution ideas and prioritize them to work on to increase your chance of success. Some of the most productive corporations get this. Encourage your employees to spend 10-20% of their working time on their own projects. Even every combination you use can be a possible solution for the problem, challenge or difficulty you encounter. Don’t generate more product ideas than our company can develop.

As Joyce Wycoff, founder of the Innovation Network said, “Most organizations are still trying to figure out how to do innovation the simplest way possible.”

For a leader wanting to increase innovation in and from their return on investment is important but it is not the first measure of success. It requires patience, persistence and thinking about innovation for the long-term.


Empowering Employees to Create Business Breakthroughs

“If it were easy to empower employees, everyone would do it.”

-Kevin Daum

Since it is your employees who work on the tasks/projects/assignments of generating ideas, creating those ideas and then producing the ideas as breakthrough results, doesn’t it make sense to empower them? You u hired smart people, now help them do what you pay them.

By leading your employees to generate, create and produce the breakthrough results you need and want for your business to thrive, how will you help them move forward? Give them the power to control, decide and generate the work results the way they do best.

The leadership challenge here is that not all leaders have the skills or training, time or focus to create an environment of empowerment. For a leader to want higher performance and breakthrough the previous ways of getting business done, you need to create the workplace that will bring out the best in your employees. This sometimes means “hands-on” approach in working side-by-side with your employees to help them go in the right direction.

Having the support from the top down is most important when empowering employees. This is not to say that employees have carte blanche to do what they want. Leaders give their instructions of what needs to be achieved. The employees then generate and create how to get the job accomplished.

A Proactive Company Culture Drives Employee Initiative

With a vision and a goal, leaders develop their employees to be proactive in establishing new ways to reach not just their end-goal, but also authorizing teams to make decisions. If they don’t take the initiative by seeking out new projects and looking for opportunities to share their ideas and suggestions, an organization can become ensnared in old ways of doing things.

When this proactive culture is missing, employees’ ideas and actions are often met with criticism or dismissal, and they may stop trying to come up with new and better ways to do things. They become disengaged

Encourage Safe Failure

Many leaders and organizations are risk-adverse. Those leaders who allow their employees to fail expect this and encourage failure to take place in order for employees to experience the thrill of the challenge. On top of this, employees will gain understanding and feel comfortable innovating the results they produce.

Taking a Different Point of View

According to Kinicki & Kreitner, empowerment is about giving employees the permission to give customers priority and to use their creative talents to find solutions when issues arise. Empower employees to make a difference.  Change conventional wisdom and status quo not to exist in your workplace.

Challenge your employee’s assumptions, beliefs and thoughts. For leaders to empower employees, these individuals become great innovators who do not take the traditional view and develop existing ideas. They take an entirely different view and use it to their advantage for generating and creating great results.

Self-Motivated Team

Having engaged, empowered, enthusiastic employees, you as leader provide the tools, encouragement and authority enabling them to use their strengths, skills and talent effectively to do their best.

Empowering employees to increase their satisfaction and the organization’s performance will require a greater amount of communication than ever thought possible

Create an Environment that Celebrates Both Successes and Failures

Don’t just celebrate the successes, celebrate the employees who took a risk but maybe didn’t obtain the results intended but learned valuable lessons themselves and for the company.

All of these combined helps leaders help their employees become more empowered to become more engaged in their work. By empowering your employees, they get to interact more with other employees who can help when employees hit an obstacle or when they get stuck on creating the results needed.

Your empowered employees get to make decisions to help your organization move forward to thrive beyond where you are right now. The best leaders are those who empower others. Empower means to put energy into something or someone. When we empower someone, we infuse him or her with our strength, support and acknowledgment to carry things forward.

By empowering employees, leaders understand that these individuals with generate, create and produce breakthrough results with cooperative and collaborative team work.

Beyond the Obvious to Create Breakthrough Results

Your success depends on the ability to generate ideas, create and produce those ideas that lead to innovations. Companies must know they cannot do things the way business was done in the past. They need to up their game and shift gears into thrive in order to move forward. Companies often struggle to see beyond their own world view.

One of the most profound challenges is that of driving innovative thought particularly in corporate environments. In order to generate great ideas then create and produce them, organizations need to change with regard to how business gets done. The following can help you move your organization to higher performance and get your employees more engaged in their work.

In changing to a different work style format, you may have some employees resist change. These are those who are not as engaged in their work as others. On the other hand, those who prefer to have a routine way of doing things and need structure with direction and instruction of what to do and in knowing how well they are doing as well.

Asking Questions

Approach your challenge to see things differently. Break-away from your past and begin to ask questions.  Learn to ask more “Why” or “What If” as various questions in order to probe beyond the surface for greater understanding and breakthrough curiosity.

Change Your Mindset

Having a “Growth” mindset helps you be open to possibilities and opportunities. By having a “growth” mindset, you learn to improve how you work and grow in the process.

On top of this, “Entrepreneurial” mindset shifts not just your thinking, but the work you generate ideas, create those ideas and produce those ideas. You actually begin to think more like an entrepreneur than an employee.

Empower Employees

To engage your employees, you need to empower them. This goes beyond having employees give input into the work they will be creating and producing. In doing so, you allow employees to also generate ideas, and discuss any obstacles, difficulties and challenges they encounter along the way to achieve their end-goal.

Thinking in Box Terms

When you think of creativity, you most likely think of the clique of “Think-Outside-the-Box”. Many people have not exhausted their “Thinking-Inside-the-Box” entirely. Yes, Thinking-Outside-the-Box will help you generate creativity.

I believe you need to combine both “Inside-the-Box-Thinking & Outside-the-Box Thinking in order to look at both the traditional or of what you have currently and how you can improve as you look Outside-the-Box. Combined they give you a greater result from all sides of the solution you are looking for.

Everyone typically has used the clique, “Think-Outside-the-Box. I believe you need to exhaust inside-the-box thinking and combine it with thinking-outside-the-box. This way you are able to think

Allow Time to Work on Own Creations

The scariest thing a leader can do is to give their people the freedom to make mistakes. While mistakes allow individuals to learn and grow, they can also be very costly to any company. As John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.”

“If we aren’t making mistakes, then we likely aren’t trying enough new things outside our comfort zone, and that itself is a mistake.”- Amy Rees Anderson

Just like many companies, 3M, Google did until 2013, and HP employees are allowed to explore their own projects- time for “unofficial” activity; that is set time to work on creative ideas.

When your employees take a break from work in the form of a vacation, many work on their own creative innovations.

Employees are given anywhere between 10- 25 percent of their workweek to generate their own ideas and create and produce them. Various companies do this to achieve generated ideas as well as to engage employees in what interests them.

On top of this, giving recognition to the employees for their contributions gives them higher self-confidence and

Generating and executing great ideas is the key to staying ahead in a rapidly changing world. It seems so basic. Why is it so hard to actually get right? Lead from beyond what’s possible—to achieve unprecedented results. That’s what’s needed, and what’s happening, to be successful in today’s business landscape.

Innovators have a tendency to think big. With this in mind, be open to possibilities, opportunities and this requires you to do things that are not routine. Start looking where you are and where you really want to be – and begin your journey.

interested in generating your ideas and creating them to achieve higher breakthrough performance, contact us at: nburgis@successful-solutions.com, or call us at 602-405-2540.

External Thought Leaders Drive Innovation

“Leaders are responsible for the level of genuine excitement in their organization”

-Kouzes & Posner

The world’s top thought leaders share a similar idea for businesses to innovate from the “outside in”.  Companies that drive innovation internally begins with the leadership of the company,

The key to being a successful leader is leading by example and motivating your employees at the same time, inspiring them to follow.

Leaders Hesitate to Foster Creativity

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard

Companies often struggle to see beyond their own world view. Companies need breakthrough innovations more than ever. Incremental innovations are not enough to meet rising demands for organic growth, but many companies are poorly prepared to meet the challenge of breakthrough innovation.

Many leaders are too timid to launching more radical innovations than what their company is. Many companies underinvest in breakthrough projects because they are not skilled at assessing and managing the risks of such projects.

More needs to be done to foster a culture of innovation within businesses and leaders need to be the ones to not be afraid of taking calculated risks of moving forward for growth and greater performance from their employees. Change might be the big reason leaders do not want to be more creative or innovative. These changes start with leaders giving up power and empowering their employees to be more like entrepreneurs.

These entrepreneur-employees then will have more in-put into generating ideas, creating solutions and producing these ideas into breakthrough results. They get to use their hidden or untapped strengths, skills and talent while using their critical thinking skills. All of this is a big shift as leaders accept that their entrepreneur-employees change their mindset and are able to discuss their obstacles or barriers with their co-workers, leaving supervisors and managers to take care of other business.

Leaders Going Beyond the Traditional

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” -Tom Freston

A leader in this capacity takes on a lot of responsibilities in being a creative leader. Understanding what you have and what you need from your employees goes beyond the traditional. These include:

  • Original Thinking- Thinking on an unconventional basis for creative innovation.
  • Being Well Informed- Understanding the challenge and how to generate ideas to be created and produced.
  • Asking the Right Question- Knowing the questions to ask about the challenge and getting the support you need to get over the obstacles or barriers to move forward. These questions are thought-provoking to the point of being curious to learn more so they can become better at what they do.

Having the insight and vision is that of a thought leader. These individuals harness the power of connection to unleash their untapped or hidden potential. Their emotional connection to what they do comes from their passion.

“Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of a creative idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.” —Linda Naiman

Happy 2015 New Year: Breakthrough Success Plan

With the right business plan, 2015 could be your best year yet.

After the clock strikes 12 AM on December 31st to begin the New Year, the clock then tics into 2015. How are you going to move forward beyond your 2014 performance and goals? New opportunities await you. There are a limitless number of ways in which an individual, team or an entire organization can approach the innovation process. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula.

Every year millions of people put out their New Year’s resolutions just to break them before the month of January is over. For 2015, write down your resolutions and stick with them for moving your leadership and business forward.

Working On Your Business/Working in Your Business

Typically, breakthroughs take place due to a breakdown either with any of the following: Your People, Processes or Systems. Your specific policies and rules most likely need to be re-evaluated and changed for transforming your business from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”.

Ask yourself, “What’s Working, What’s Working Well, What’s Not Working, and What’s Working Very Well?” Here is where you need to start to evaluate your organization. From here re-assess your employees for their strengths, skills, and talent. Most if not all of your have the hidden talent they have not demonstrated because they are not empowered for engagement.


Gaining momentum starts by getting buy-in from all employees. Breakthroughs create shifts that put you in a greater state of consciousness. It can take place when you work at something for a specific period or when you find a new perspective from looking at the same situation.

Empowerment: Empower your employees and have them work with an “entrepreneurial” mindset. Give your employees some responsibilities that they will feel proud and take pride in. These include: (1) Enable your employees to make decisions without having them to go to their supervisor; (2) Involve your employees as they take responsibility toward improving the way things get done; and (3) Encourage your employees to take on more of an active role in the tasks they are completing. (At this same time, your managers will have more time to work on other matters regarding their skills, abilities, and talents).

Focus on the Impossible Being Possible

“Try improbable combinations, foster frequent brainstorming, & then take those new ideas, test them & put them to work.” – Paul Sloane

Achieving your goals is first and foremost to creating and producing the breakthrough results you want and need. In making the impossible possible, you demonstrate that your leadership can get done what needs to get done. Doing things you believe to be impossible is a constant theme in your organizational culture. Be the catalyst that impacts your organization and deliver results that challenge the impossible.

Challenge the Impossible and create the possibilities where you can produce the breakthrough results to move you beyond your expectation for success.

Integrate New Thinking into Your Business

Implementing a new way you do business is not just changing business strategies. It has a lot more to do with the mindset and critical thinking of your employees. This helps as your employees are able to create and produce breakthrough results from the ideas they generate. Your employees will be more engaged and satisfied in the work they do.

Set expectations that plan positive change as your company explores new challenges and opportunities. The essential ingredient to creating Breakthroughs in your business is to execute smart actions as soon as possible.

Harness Talent & Skills of Employees: The performance of your organization and its ability to achieve business goals relies on your valuable assets- your talent pool. Every employee has hidden talents that could take your company from good to great. Do you know your employees talents, or what your employees are capable of producing.

After talking with your employees and finding out their hidden skills, abilities and other talents, write it down and keep it handy as you may have specific tasks that can be assigned to those who can handle what you need accomplished. Take advantage of them and your employee and give recognition to them in the form of a reward (maybe it is time for them to be promoted).


As you close the book on 2014 with a fresh start to 2015, think about how you are going to move forward to the next level of your success. Are you going to begin the breakthrough results you have been waiting to start for some time? Are you going to do more of the same things of what you did last year and achieve approximately the same results? Think about if you want to survive or thrive beyond your expectation with taking calculated risks to breakthrough success.

As a useful business tool, New Year’s Resolutions can be very helpful. Do not wait for this time next year to look and see how the year went. If you are ambitious enough, make your preparations now. Get organized and make this year your most successful year yet. Give yourself the gift of creating and producing the breakthrough results you want and need to move forward.

Keeping with the New Year’s Resolution, my question to you is, “Why is the new year going to be different from last year? The key is to stick with them.


Creative Innovation as a Leadership Mindset

There are not a lot of people like Thomas Edison, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Elon Musk who were in the right place at the right time using their skills and talent to innovate creativity. Creativity alone is not sufficient. Innovation requires you to be creative in implementing new ideas and using the creative mindset leader’s have to inspire their employees.

As the leader of your organization, you face unprecedented challenges internally and externally. Creativity is often described as the catalyst to innovation, and creativity does not need to be left up to chance. New ideas and new thinking are today’s currency and are required to tackle the increasing complexities in your workplace. Creative leadership involves divergent thinking, multi-layered idea generation, organizational climate, and managing the creativity and innovation processes. In order to thrive, you must innovate and constantly seek new and different ideas.

A majority of CEO’s cite creativity as the most important leadership quality required to cope with the growing complexity of today’s workplace. Leaders must solve increasingly complex challenges that require new and different thinking. Creativity is a vital skill, yet leaders admit they lack the necessary knowledge to promote its growth.

Igniting Your Innovative Mindset
Innovative Mindset: means being able to generate creative or novel solutions to problems that result in improved performance. “There is always benefit in exploring fresh thinking with people outside your company who can look at an opportunity and provide insights that you might not generate internally” – Frank Tataseo, EVP, Strategy for The Clorox Company.

By igniting your mindset toward innovative ideas, you inspire your employees to tackle challenges that ignite their mindset to be more creative and innovative. The Innovator’s Mindset starts with a growth mindset described by Stanford University professor Carol Dweck. The basics of having a growth mindset for an innovator include: Accepting Uncertainty, Seeking New Experiences, Broadening Your Repertoire, Detecting New Growth Opportunities, Managing Risk through Action, and Ultimately Succeed in New Situations.

Formulating the Challenges
Turning problems into innovative challenges needs to have your employees use their creative thinking of ideas to generate value. In order to turn a problem into a creative challenge, you need to deconstruct the problem so that you can identify its causes and consequences. Innovative leaders & employees think both in & outside-the-box to how they see the challenge they need to create & produce breakthrough results.

Leaders need to constantly motivate their employees to high performance. It’s the role of leader’s to harness creativity and productivity among employees. Going beyond finding creative solutions to business process challenges, your leadership helps employees develop new mental models to meet new challenges. Achieving breakthrough business results often requires unique approaches towards tough problems.

Creating Breakthrough Ideas to Achieve Innovative Results
Innovation is one of the most sought after, talked about attributes in business today. Breaking paradigms and thinking “inside and out-of-the box” is crucial for achieving breakthrough results. Companies depend on workers to come up with the innovative ideas needed to keep them competitive and thriving into the next decade.

To survive and thrive, your leadership depends on your employees being empowered to see things differently than “the ordinary” and to use an “entrepreneurial mindset” to think more critically in creating and producing creative innovations. With creative thinking being an essential skill, leaders look to high performance employees to use their skills and talent in order to take ideas and create and produce the breakthrough results only they know how to innovate.

Sustaining creative innovation within your organization may have you reach for breakthrough coaching whenever you need to move forward to the next level of results. This helps your employees get more inspired and motivated for the next level of challenges they will be asked to create and produce.

Leaders Influencing Employee Breakthrough Results

 “Globally, when employees report they follow effective leaders, the average employee engagement score is 91%”
– Kenexa Research Institute

   How often have you had your boss help you create and produce breakthrough results you were looking for? Most likely this is a rarity for you. Many leaders want less on their plate so they do not have time to get to know their employees, let alone influence them with a slight nod.

Your boss has their own leadership style, now you have to try one on for size. Your boss hired you to create and produce breakthrough results. With this in mind, you need to see what works for you in regards to how well you do the work you were hired to do. Your approach to leadership impacts your organization’s ability to meet its obligations.

What moves the needle for you as an influence from your leader to help you move forward, creating and producing your best without any intimidation, yelling or screaming, or disciplinary action to push you along the way? The following gives you a taste of what breakthrough leaders do to help their employees achieve their best work in reaching the breakthrough results you need.

Your Own Style

You may already know that both leadership and communication of each person has a style all their own. As an “entrepreneurial” employee, you need to develop a style that fits for you regarding the work you do. Leaders of breakthrough organizations allow their employees to choose their own style of working as long as you create and produce breakthrough results, interact well with your colleagues and co-workers and are able to … Employees who work with an “entrepreneurial” mindset create and produce greater breakthrough results than an employee who is told what to do.


Avoid making employee engagement an announcement or policy. Businesses simply can’t afford to have disengaged employees. If employees have a negative attitude toward their company or boss, they are far more likely to be disengaged than engaged.

Getting in-put from employees on the work they do is critical for engaged employees. Leaders of breakthrough organizations influence employees by having them understand clearly what they are to do and to make sure the employee has everything they need to achieve the end goal. These employees are satisfied in the job as they are empowered beyond what “employees” typical are.

Getting Immediate Feedback: Encourage In-The-Moment Feedback

While your boss can help you so far, you need to put out the effort and energy to maybe expand on what they tell you in order to get better at what you do. I am not talking about disciplinary actions here. In receiving feedback for your work, being open to it is typical for those who work to create and produce breakthrough results. When you receive feedback from your boss, think first before responding to it. Your best bet is to be proactive and not react to something you do not like or want to hear.

Leadership by Walking

While working on a project or task leaders who employ high performing individuals prefer to get to know who you are, ask how you are doing, and what they can do to help. They also get to assess and evaluate your strengths, skills, talent, attitude and ability to take on more challenging projects or tasks. Those who work in this environment are typically “entrepreneurs” who prefer to stay with this employer rather than go out and work for themselves. This is not to say that they will not do so at another time.

Empower Your Employees

“Organizations should create an environment where people feel empowered and trusted, with a culture where leaders can thrive” -Pawel Brodzinski

Do you empower your employees? If not, you’re missing out on several opportunities to improve your business and your life. Your employees think and act like entrepreneurs. With that in mind, most successful leaders are willing to exercise their leadership in such a way that their people are empowered to make decisions, share information, and try new things.

When the leader of an organization empowers employees, that employee feels confident in using their creative thinking and focus on what they want and need to accomplish. Empowered employees care more about the success of your company. They want to do a good job, and they have a sense of ownership in your goals. In fact, many of your goals become their goals. Empowered employees require less supervision, develop outstanding business ideas, work smarter and more efficiently, and are happy – which means they’re extremely loyal.

 “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.”
– Lee Iacocca

A leader’s approach can have an influence on the productivity of his/her staff and the rest of the organization. Remember, leadership is about influence and leaders influence their “entrepreneurial” employees to create and produce breakthrough results by empowering them with greater responsibilities. This in-turn allows employees the ability to use their critical thinking skills and motivate themselves with the breakthrough results they achieve. After the goal(s) is reached, the entire organization celebrates for the work they completed. Then it is off to the next challenging task/project.

Extraordinary Introverted Leaders

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible” – Cherie Carter-Scott

When most people think of a leader, they think of someone who is an extrovert- outgoing, charismatic, socially interactive with other people, able to give a speech or presentation and someone who has confidence and can make great decisions. Until recently, it has been found that for several years many leaders who create and produce high performance levels have actually been introverted leaders. To name a few, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, former CEO Brenda Barnes of Sara Lee, movie magnate Steven Spielberg, and Former Sun Microsystems executive Jim Green. Most organizations did not see how valuable introverts are especially with our creativity and innovativeness.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe, American professional tennis player

Introverts are hardly a bunch of shy wallflowers – they are proven leaders who can be great leaders and public speakers. Introverts possess some crucial qualities that make them especially well-suited for powerful positions. Introverts are great at conversing with others because they listen and respond well.

The quiet revolution actually started years ago when some introverts decided they did not want to play follow the leader anymore to become the leader others follow. By turning Good Leaders into Great Leaders, introverts become great leaders because we think about what we can do differently in being creative and innovative with getting great results.

First, find out What is Your Leadership Style? The more an introvert climbs up the corporate ladder you need to learn more about developing your leadership and how you specifically lead. There are many who can lead quite well with ease as long as you know how to present themselves well enough to have this take place.

Play to Your Strengths: If you are an introverted leader, one of the best things you can do is recognize your strengths and know how to highlight them. These traits can give you a decided advantage when it comes to the performance of your team. As an introvert, you tend to be measured by your responses rather than react to them, therefore you are likely to be highly analytical and a good listener. Your natural aversion to risk makes you a steady leader. And when you do speak, you are frequently the voice of reason and thus, often the voice most listened to.

Surround Yourself with Complementary Team Members: You can capitalize on the introvert’s advantage by selecting team members who complement your quieter, more reserved approach to leadership. Know that your style of leadership will result in the most productive teams if you encourage your employees to be enterprising.

Create a Productive Environment:  Remember that introverts need quiet spaces and alone time in order to do their best work. With a unique blend of characteristics, introverted leaders are just as capable to make great decisions, conduct and implement strategic plans, communicate well with others both on a one-to-one and speech making basis. Besides having a creative mindset, introverted leaders can be at ease in networking, as we know how to lead using the skills, talent and strengths we possess.

As an introvert, you need to show your accomplishments and how good-to-great you really are. Others will not take your word. They need to see you create and produce a few extraordinary breakthrough results in order to feel good about you. You need to open-up to people such as in leadership-by-walking and interact socially with others. Ask questions and show you are interested in who you employees are.

Leadership begins with you – and you will not succeed as a leader unless you have some sense of who you are. Your colleagues – potential followers – have a simple but basic need: they want to be led by a person not by a corporate party-line official. It is unlikely that you will be able to inspire, arouse, excite or motivate people unless you can show them who you are, what you stand for, and what you can and cannot do.

Maximize Your Leadership Potential as an Introvert: In order to maximize your leadership, you need to make yourself more visible to others. This includes your employees and to your company executives. Introverted New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell observes that speaking on stage “has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance, and many performers are hugely introverted.”

Conduct yourself with leadership-by-walking as you spend about 30 minutes every day talking with employees to find out how things are going and finding out their thoughts, opinions and feelings on things in general. Crowded rooms and small talk are never comfortable for the introvert.

Putting Empowerment in Employee Hands: Research has shown that when an extroverted CEO leads extroverted/introverted employees, the employees are told what to do & how to do the work assigned. An introverted CEO stays behind the scenes after giving the task/assignment primarily to extroverted employees. The employees are told here’s the task/assignment, use your critical thinking skills, & if you have a problem/challenge, talk with other co-workers. The introverted CEO always gives credit/recognition to their employees, & they give them some leeway, where most extroverted leaders do not. As a result, the CEO’s of introverted organizations have higher productivity than those of extroverted CEO’s. Since introverts think a lot more than extroverts, introverted leaders are a lot more creative and innovative. With this in mind, introverted leaders empower their employees to use their critical thinking skills, prefer employees to work using an “entrepreneurial” mind-set, and discuss barriers, obstacles and challenges with their co-workers, and want to listen to what their employees have to say regarding the work they are assigned.

Say Goodbye to Your Comfort Zone!: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To be a leader, because of all the things you have to do and the unexpected challenges that occur, you will need to act on those things to move your company forward. To be extraordinary, you need to get out of your every day routine and accept that you are going to do things different than you have done before.

Listening Skills: Often times, leaders do a lot of talking and do not want to listen to the thoughts, ideas, or opinions of others. Introverts prefer listening instead of talking. Listening to the ideas of others helps you make the decisions you need to make.

Moving Beyond Expectation: There are challenges in both leadership and in being introverted. You need to step out of your comfort zone from time to time and challenge yourself to experience new and different things that relate to both your introversion and that of being a leader. Leadership for introverts can sometimes take a lot of effort. Leaders can’t lead without dealing with people in a multitude of settings. If I am not willing to compensate, you should not be a leader.

“If you want to lead an extraordinary life, find out what the ordinary do–and don’t do it.” –Tommy Newberry