When Your Wave Comes, Ride It

Laird Hamilton surfing Teahupoo on August 17, 2000.  Photo: Tim McKenna   On August 17, 2000, Laird Hamilton was surfing a famous break off Tahiti called Teahupoo. The break at Teahupoo already had a fierce reputation, but on this day, Laird and his friend Darrick Doerner saw a wave approaching unlike anything they had ever[…]

Innovation, Risk & Failure at Pixar

In a recent interview, Ed Catmull, the cofounder of Pixar, shares his views on risk, failure and culture. The entire interview is worthwhile, but I found Ed’s perspective on these three issues to be especially insightful and applicable to all industries. Taking Risks The nature of innovation requires risk taking. This creates a fundamental tension[…]

To Make Better Decisions, Think Independently

Photo by Rachele Caretti, Licensed under CC by 2.0 One of the qualities shared by great decision makers is the rare ability to disregard the opinions of others and think for themselves. There is a strong gravitational pull to conform to the conventional wisdom. If you’re looking to avoid accountability or even regret (which is[…]

7 Leadership Lessons from a CEO

I recently had an opportunity to hear Gail McGovern speak to a group of high-potential leaders at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC. She shared her personal history from her early career at AT&T where she started as a computer programmer and rose to Executive Vice President. There were a lot of lessons[…]

Einstein & Creativity

In 2015 we celebrated the one-hundred-year anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. What Einstein was able to achieve was so astounding and so creative, it is worth reflecting on how he did it. Thought Experiments. Einstein’s intellectual journey toward the General Theory of Relativity did not begin with complex equations and high[…]

Drive for Results with Change Management

Before you can lead a change effort you must first identify the forces that are driving change and build the case for why change is critical. Gathering support from other leaders, as well as your team, depends on how well you understand the change that’s needed. Considering these questions will help you prepare and ultimately[…]

Leaders Who Inspire Innovative Ideas

It’s easy to think of innovation only in terms of the big developments or breakthrough concepts – the iPod, Frappuccino blended coffee, hybrid cars. We don’t think as much about the teams of people behind those ideas. More importantly, we forget that those teams are led by leaders who embrace and create environments where innovation[…]

4 Ways to Drive Innovation

Innovation isn’t just about creating new products or developing a new design. Innovation also plays a key role in employee engagement, customer satisfaction and company success. Here are five things you can do to drive innovation in your organization. 1. Encourage Story Telling. Employees that are more engaged are also more innovative. So, how can[…]

Zuckerberg, EQ, Chopra and Benjamin Franklin

How Mark Zuckerberg has grown into his role as CEO of Facebook. Emotional Intelligence as a predictor of success. Video of my friend Jit Chopra addressing a group of executives on the creative process.  If you like my post on “start with the bad ideas first“, then you’ll love to hear Jit tell the story about[…]

The 8 Most Important Qualities of Leadership at Google

For most of Google’s history, and especially in the early years, it took a laissez-faire policy toward leadership. The company hired smart engineers, promoted the most brilliant into leadership positions and then pretty much left them alone. The assumption was that they were smart and would figure it out or ask questions if they needed help.[…]