DON’T LET WHAT YOU KNOW LIMIT WHAT YOU CAN IMAGINE
“LEADERSHIP IN AN AGE OF DISRUPTION”
In a world being remade before our eyes, leaders who make a difference are the ones who can reimagine what’s possible at their organization and in their field, and who can turn bold strategies into relentless execution. And they’re not just CEOs; they’re executives running business units, managers in charge of key departments, engineers or marketers running project teams, entrepreneurs building a company from scratch. Regardless of their formal role or title in the organization, high-impact leaders exude both originality and utility—provocative thinking that energizes their colleagues, a roll-up-the-sleeves approach to work and culture that shapes how everyone shares ideas and solves problems. Put simply, the best leaders are the most insatiable learners and the most effective communicators. In this inspiring and instructive keynote, Bill Taylor shows why he is one of the most popular leadership speakers. He offers hands-on thinking gleaned from the most extraordinary leaders he’s studied over the last 25 years. These leaders have many different personalities and styles, they’ve built very different kinds of companies and organizations, but they’ve all wrestled with the defining questions that face leaders everywhere—questions whose answers amount to a new agenda for leadership. The challenge for leaders today is to help their organizations see things that other organizations don’t see, and do things that other organizations can’t or won’t do. Bill’s insights, stories, and takeaways prepare leaders at every level to master that challenge.
Here are some of the questions Bill asks and answers:
Are you prepared to rethink the conventions of success in your field and the logic of your success as a leader? The “paradox of expertise” is one of the most dangerous occupational hazards for leaders. Often, the more closely you’ve looked at a field, the longer you’ve been working and succeeding in a field, the more difficult it can be to see new patterns, new prospects, new possibilities. Without intending it, accomplished leaders can let what they know limit what they can imagine.
Are you learning, as an organization and as a leader, as fast as the world is changing? That’s how you overcome the paradox of expertise. Plenty of leaders work hard to make themselves and their organizations more interesting; that’s how you stand out from the crowd. The best leaders work to keep themselves interested—interested in big ideas, interested in small innovations, interested in the enduring mission of the enterprise and all-new ways to bring that mission to life. The best leaders are the most insatiable leaders.
Do you know how to “talk the walk”? Leadership isn’t just about out-thinking the competition, it’s about out-executing the competition as well. That’s why the best leaders work hard to explain, in language that is unique to their field and compelling to their colleagues and customers, why what they do matters and how they expect to win. A leader’s ideas are only as powerful as the organization’s capacity to bring those ideas to life.
Are you as humble as you are hungry? In businesses built on new ideas, generating and evaluating ideas has to be everybody’s business. That’s why the best leaders are both ambitious for their organizations and humble about their ability to do everything that matters. Indeed, humility in the service of ambition is the most effective mindset for leaders who aspire to do big things in a world with huge unknowns. The best leaders create the conditions that allow ordinary people to make extraordinary contributions.