Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Crazy Ones: How to be a Leader that Inspires Creativity and Innovation

Photo by paul bica
My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” - Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.
Many companies are striving to achieve Apple's level of creativity and innovation, but they don't have the type of culture and leadership to support this goal.
Stephen Gates, VP and Creative Director, Global Brand Design, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, presented "The Crazy Ones: How to be a Leader that Inspires Creativity and Innovation" at the Total Customer Experience Leaders (TCEL) Summit in Miami, Florida. Here are the seven characteristics of leaders vs. managers he shared:
  • Execution vs. leadership: Managers think that anyone can lead a team. Leadership isn't telling people what to do. Leaders empower them to find their own solutions and embrace their own process.
  • Status quo vs. beliefs: Managers believe in the status quo of doing things the way they've always been done. Leaders know that having beliefs gives your team something to rally around and it creates an identity.
  • Best practices vs. real insights: Managers think they will find innovation in studies, conferences, and consumer research, but they keep you at the same level as your competition. Leaders know you have to look beyond shared knowledge and have your team spend time finding unique perspectives.
  • Execution vs. ideas: Managers have deadlines. Leaders have ideas. Deadline-driven groups are a commodity. Idea-driven groups are a critical asset.
  • Words vs. actions: Managers are all talk with little to no follow through. Leaders value actions over words.
  • Emotional deafness vs. self-awareness: A lot of leadership has nothing to do with your team and everything to do with you. Leaders take time to understand how their teams work. People need to feel inspired, invested and protected to do their best work.

  • Good vs. great: Managers do good work. Good work is a compromise. Leaders understand that good work is the single greatest threat to great work. Great work is born out of passion, investment and attention to detail and creates a culture of dedication beyond reason.

Stay tuned for more customer experience insights shared at this week's TCEL. Stay connected at:
  • #TCEL14
  • Customer Experience Leaders
Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at

No comments: