Finding new sources of inspiration

Binoculars on the Empire State Building

Having centred ourselves and made clear sense of the situation, the third step of Inner Leadership is to identify our alternative ways forward.

We could do this by looking for the strategic and operational options. But in a time of change there are two reasons why it makes more sense to look first for the inspiration that lies at the heart of inner leadership.

The first is that during times of change all ways forward are likely to be difficult. Success is therefore likely to be driven by whatever generates the greatest levels of enthusiasm and inspiration — in our customers, employees, investors, and ourselves.

The second reason is that Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb by looking for better ways of making candles. In times of change, the strategic and operational options that worked well in the past look may no longer be the best. New opportunities will be emerging all the time and we won’t find them by applying our existing mindsets. We have to think differently.

This third step of Inner Leadership, then, is about innovation and ideation. It’s about shifting our focus away from, “How shall we respond?” to asking, “What do we most want to create? What will most inspire and emotionally engage our key stakeholders?” Once we know the answer to that, then we can think about how best to achieve it.

The way we accomplish this not by strategising ever more deeply about the way the world used to work but by using the tools of Chapter 3 to find new inspiration for the way the world could be.

What inspires you most about what you are working on today? What would happen if you inspired yourself (and other key stakeholders) even more?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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