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Becoming a Five-point Leader

BUILDING The Capacity TO Navigate The Future

It is easy to fixate on the individual who makes the tough calls, turning high- risk into high-returns, with products and services that revolutionize the game (Figure 14.5). It has been reinforced multiple times that the path is never linear; Steve Jobs was booted out as the leader of Apple Corporation before truly returning as the pilot that everyone now celebrates. Larry Page has grown into

Becoming a five-point leader this position, and Elon Musk was forced into the role when Tesla was in dire straits financially

Figure 14.5 Becoming a five-point leader this position, and Elon Musk was forced into the role when Tesla was in dire straits financially.

To rely on finding an individual that encompasses the entire five-points spectrum of leadership is dangerous and unrealistic. Tim Cook is never going to fully replace Steve Jobs, and Apple is showing that successful leadership can also involve a team of individuals that play essential roles to perfection.

Five-point Leadership takes time to develop, requiring a balance of strong individuals and capable teams. Here are a few ways of doing it:

OPPOSABLE FORCE NO. 1: DISRUPTION AND INTEGRATION

Pull it apart, put it back together, repeat ad infinitum.

The recurring theme of all Five-Point Leaders has been the ability to constantly embrace change, feeling free to challenge the core business model according to emerging technology and capabilities internally and externally. In all cases, senior leadership has been the bridge between Research and Development, to Sales and Marketing. Whenever there is a gap between these two departments, businesses have collapsed. Steve Jobs took it to the extreme, building a highly protected bunker where the long-term strategy of Apple was discussed and debated, surrounded by the latest prototypes.

Business strategy questions

  • What would disrupt your core business? How could you integrate it as a new service or platform?
  • What would disrupt your industry? How could your services and platforms shift into different markets?

For Tesla it is not yet clear whether they are an automotive manufacturer, an energy provider or a technology service provider. Investors believe Tesla is rich in potential due to the many different innovation fronts (disruption) with a leader with a track record of transforming opportunities into success (integration).

Internal innovation integration questions

A culture that defends the status quo will always be blind to new ideas.

  • Can your sales and marketing units' position and respond to new ideas?
  • Is there a pipeline for transforming insights into opportunities?
  • Are you future proof?
  • Who is incentivized to look at the long term?
  • Who is rewarded for making these connections?

OPPOSABLE FORCE NO. 2: PHILOSOPHER AND ENTREPRENEUR

Tell a story, dare to dream and speculate, but be ruthless at delivering something of value immediately.

Google is growing stronger as the internal divisions increasingly work together. The enormous and ambitious vision of their senior leadership is actively engaging each division, and they work with one another. Android, the Autonomous Vehicle and Calico (the emerging health services division) are ambitious visions that require wide collaboration within the company in order to deliver on their promise. During the journey of transforming vision into reality, multiple business opportunities are emerging and Google will need be ready to capitalize on these.

Business strategy questions

Ask frequently:

  • What is the dream?
  • What are the first steps to achieve the dream?
  • Who else would benefit from those first steps?
  • How do you build internal capacity to recognize and maximize opportunities as they emerge?

Internal innovation integration questions

A narrative is required to foster alignment and encourage participation.

  • What is the human story?
  • How do people internalize the dream?
  • How is the dream connected to day-to-day activities?
  • Who are the champions for reinforcing this connection and revealing the implications of drifting away from the vision?
 
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