This past week I have been visiting Holland with my Dutch wife and son, for my Mother-in-law’s 90th birthday celebration. Holland is a beautiful mixture of old tradition and constant innovation.
It is the perfect recipe for running a successful company: Stay true to your values that supported the creation and initial growth of your company, and also be constantly innovating: trying new approaches and technologies, building up new skills, offering new services.
During our trip I visited with an art-collector friend. We learned that the best art to invest in is from painters who were the first to paint in a certain style. The innovators!
As my friend told me, these innovative artists are the pebble (or the first ripple), and others who copy them are the encircling ripples. Her walls were filled with artists who are making unique statements with their art.
Innovation is the common denominator for so many successful things in life: Art, Companies and even Countries.
What kind of company is yours? What kind of leader are you?
A company can grow stale because its leadership becomes stale, complacent and resistant to change. I have been working for 2 years with a company, helping it transform its leadership, operations and financial health. After 18 months of bringing innovation to this company, a key leader left abruptly. He was not on board with the new culture and had been holding the company back. Soon after, with fresh blood in key positions, the company started rapidly embracing the change and hitting new metrics of success: higher efficiency, higher profits, higher morale.
Some leaders are sitting back sleepy in their comfort zone, while others are taking chances implementing new ways of doing business.
Jeffrey’s Breakthrough Question: Are you the innovative pebble, or are you the copycat ripple, or are you the stump in the water holding back the change?
Take Action: Be the change, or support the change, but don’t hinder the innovation. As a leader identify if you are leading change, and if you have built a team that supports the change.
Family photo in the North of Holland with a traditional windmill.
Innovative windmill park off the coast of Holland.
Some of the older buildings in Holland, now full of restaurants and cafes.