Linda A. Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration and faculty chair of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School believes that there is change in the approach of successful leaders. According to Hill, if two teams are involved in a challenge, rather than preferring the promising one, the members are more likely to test both the teams before finalizing on either one.
She places utmost importance on giving a chance to everyone to share, try and make mistakes in order to make it big. However, all of this depends on the leader of the pack, to indulge in risks or not.
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“Collective Genius: The Art and Practise of Leading Innovation” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014), a work of collaboration by Hill and Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback, scans some of world’s well-known executives. The book’s results reveal that innovation doesn’t necessarily require creative minds, as they may block other people from sharing their solutions on problems. There is emphasis placed on the role of managers/ heads as “social architects”, who build an inclusive sphere where everyone can participate.
Hill and her co-writers further elaborate on how this type of team building finally leads to success:
The effect of leadership
She begins by highlighting the importance of giving fair opportunities to all members. This can be achieved only by believing that everyone has their share of inbuilt creativity. The writers point out how successful leaders give their team complete freedom to experiment and fail it as well. They encourage questions, disagreements and even healthy arguments. All sorts of talent and expressions are welcomed, which is critical to the idea of success.
The hidden formula
It is believed to be a combination of the right technique and skill. The first reference is to something known as ‘creative abrasion’, that encourages healthy discussions, rather than supressing or dismissing them. In order to develop a stable organisation, all possibilities need to be explored. This can only be achieved by giving everyone an opportunity to speak up. The more arguments you receive, the more you become aware of loopholes and thereby strengthen your ideas.
The second aspect is ‘creative agility’, that deals with experimenting the ideas and notions. This involves a number of test runs and feedbacks to thorough your concept. It is like an experiment that needs to receive public approval on a smaller ground before letting out to the larger market.
The third aspect is of ‘creative resolution’. Here all the ideas are combined and produced to view the larger picture. This is a highly important phase, as this determines the rate of success. However, it is a controversial step as well, since it includes the clash of ideas and concepts as well.
Importance of citing references
- Amy Schulman, after joining Pfizer in 2009, created the Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA), where she built a system that focussed on developing intense relationships with the lawyers delivering well-organized solutions.
- Vineet Nayar, as the new president of HCL Technologies in India in 2005, began by reaching out to the younger employees at the forefront. Nayar’s leadership allowed the company to expand to 32 countries along with a six-fold increase in its revenues.
- Bill Coughran (then senior vice-president of Engineering at Google) focussed on empowering employees. His constant experiments and trials may have had their share of ups and downs, however the employees gained a sense of willingness and
The importance of environment
The crux of success, lies in team building. An efficient company is known by its competent team. Each member should be aware of the crucial goal and hence their importance and identity should not be compromised. Both, the leader and the team members should be encouraged to interact as freely and actively as possible. It is to be noted that in many companies, this is banned and considered unethical. However, higher the interaction and deeper the connect between members itself will result positively in communication and achieving work targets. Ellen Langer, Hill’s colleague at Harvard University has more to say on this.
Spotting the talent
Therefore, the art of identifying talent ultimately lies in the head of the company, who should make their demands clear to the team. So there has to be a change in the attitude of heads. The more approachable they become, the easier it gets for members to develop themselves and become efficient.