Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #14 – Matthew E. May On How To Encourage Creativity & Innovation


In today’s increasingly competitive, global market, it’s understandable why so many leaders are trying to figure out how to foster innovation in their organizations. So how is it that some organizations seem to thrive on the cutting edge while others can barely get their innovative initiatives off the ground? That’s the focus of my discussion with one of the world’s top experts on innovation and creativity, Matthew E. May.

Matt is a popular speaker, creativity coach, and advisor who has worked with management teams from companies like ADP, Intuit, Edmunds, and Toyota, to help them discover innovative solutions to complex issues. He is also the founder of Edit Innovation, an ideas agency based in Los Angeles, California.

In addition to his speaking and consulting work on creativity and innovation, Matt has written and has had his work featured in many respected publications such as Harvard Business Review, University of Toronto’s The Rotman Magazine, Fast Company, Thinkers50, TIME, Inc Magazine, strategy+business, Forbes, MIT/Sloan Management Review and American Express OPEN Forum.

Matt is also the author of four critically acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling books on creativity and innovation, including his latest book, “The Laws Of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything”.

In this 14th episode of my show, Matt shares his insights into how we can tap into our organization’s collective creativity and drive innovation initiatives – including a fun, little exercise whose answer even had me surprised at its simplicity and elegance; you definitely want to check this out and even try it with your team and organization.

In addition to this insightful exercise, some of the other ideas and insights Matt and I discuss in our conversation include: Click here to continue reading »”Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #14 – Matthew E. May On How To Encourage Creativity & Innovation”

What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?

Attributes of a connected leader

The following is a guest piece by Dan Pontefract.

The Italian town of Pisa is an interesting place full of contrasts. The tower, of course, has been leaning amongst a sea of straight buildings in the Piazza del Duomo that includes tall Tuscan evergreens as well as columns that have adorned the Duomo, Baptistery and Campo Santo for several hundred years.

Fine art in the various buildings is starkly opposed a gaggle of immigrants trying to make a buck by hocking souvenir trinkets of miniature ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ replicas, Holy rosaries, fake leather bags and sunglasses. It really is beauty and the beast.

Tourists themselves parade mightily with cameras in hand amongst the old Romanesque walls gazing at this architectural wonderment whereas local Italians look on rather ambivalently to the surroundings, barely noticing the beatific stone marvels nestled amongst them.

It’s this recognition of contrast in Pisa where we must take pause and articulate a set of leadership attributes that embody contrast. I suggest there are fifteen Connected Leader Attributes necessary to invoke ‘Flat Army’ across a team and organization; where there is rigidity there must be flexibility and where there is give there must be take. Where there is the need to drive business there is the need to understand and work with people.

The Connected Leader in the Flat Army model can be thought of as Click here to continue reading »”What Does It Take To Be A Connected Leader?”

What Managers Are Looking For In Tomorrow’s Leaders

Employee skills needed for management

The following is guest piece by Dan Schawbel.

When I used to work in a Fortune 200 company, I always wondered what it took to get ahead at work. No one ever spelled it out and there were no set expectations for becoming a manager at the company. You had to figure it out on your own.

The basis for my new book, “Promote Yourself”, is that I wanted to reveal the criteria that managers were using to evaluate employees for management roles. If you know what managers are looking for, and what they don’t care as much about, then you can spend your time wisely and increase your probability of success.

One of my predictions was that the higher up you go in an organization, the more important soft skills are to your success. The reason is because you have to start managing people, leading a team, delegate tasks and communicate constantly. This was confirmed in the research I did with American Express for the book. We found that managers are looking for soft skills over hard ones when promoting.

Then we decided to break the soft skills down to find out which ones are the most important. The top three most important skills Click here to continue reading »”What Managers Are Looking For In Tomorrow’s Leaders”

The Impact Of Leaders On Personal Transformation

Leadership  and personal transformation

The following is a guest piece by Bill Treasurer.

A lot has been written about Transformational Leadership. The term was coined by James McGregor Burns, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian. In his book “Leadership” he talks about the transformational impact that occurs on performance and morale when a leader connects a follower’s sense of identity to the collective identity of the organization.

Leadership practitioners spend a lot of time theorizing about transformational change writ large. But transforming an entire organization will never be an experience that most leaders are tasked with. Most leaders aren’t CEOs. They are heads of teams, departments, and divisions. More broadly, they are anyone who influences others toward the achievement of goals.

So rather than spending too much time musing about transformational change at scale, it makes more sense to focus on helping inspire transformational change at a more personal level.

Think about leaders you’ve worked for. They have likely been people who gave you feedback at a critical moment in time that ended up Click here to continue reading »”The Impact Of Leaders On Personal Transformation”

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