Posts Tagged 'breakthrough leadership'

Inauguration: Barack Obama Has Huge Leadership Amplitude

Barack Obama has promised to cure America’s economic ills and restore America’s positive image. On a larger stage, he has the opportunity through influence to save the world from itself and make it a much better place. This will take huge Leadership Amplitude, as I call it. We are fortunate on this hallowed day of the inauguration of our 44th president. Obama has it, in spades!

Leadership Amplitude is made up of two components. The first is emotional amplitude, well known to psychologists. The second is what I have discovered and coined, Intellectual Amplitude.

Emotional Amplitude Moderated

Barack Obama may be the most emotionally centered president to date—perhaps even more so than Abraham Lincoln, one of his idols. For example, under the harshest fire from John McCain’s political pit bulls, Barack would hear it, smile and move forward. Golf Digest, in its February 2009 issue, reported Obama does the same on the golf course. He loves to compete by making small wagers to increase the pressure, and when he underperforms to his high expectations, he just smiles and analyzes how to improve on the next shot.

When he does increase his emotional amplitude, it is constructively. On the one extreme, he lets his emotions out of the box with deep compassion for the world’s problems and feels everyone’s pain around the world. On the positive extreme, his passion and confidence to solve them is obvious to everyone. As he stated, “The country has chosen hope over fear,” and later, “We are ready to lead once more.”

Intellectual Amplitude Unleashed

Constructive emotional amplitude is a wonderful quality, but it is insufficient in itself to change the country, much less the world. Doing so will require immense Intellectual Amplitude. Here is where Barack shines as a Breakaway Leader. I have discovered that Intellectual Amplitude is the one thing, the singular trait that distinguishes great from good leaders. It is the Holy Grail of Leadership, if you will.

In his inaugural speech, and throughout his campaigning for leader of the free world, Barack displayed Intellectual Amplitude at the two extremes. On the constructively negative side, he identified and focused on the top vital problems that America needs to address, and he passionately voiced a call to action to drill deep for their root causes to eliminate or substantially mitigate them. Now, on the positive extreme, he already has begun to outline a vision and strategy for reinventing America and its role in the world. His inauguration speech spoke to both extremes. He spoke of “the gathering clouds and raging storms,” and of optimism that “our minds are no less inventive than before,” and declared “the state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.”

America’s Amplitude Must Be Huge

As I have asserted in prior writings, the “box” is not just a metaphor, it is real—a low amplitude. Remarkable leaders don’t just think out of the box, they lead the entire organization out of the box. In this case, the “organization” is America.

All of America must up its Amplitude to help Barack Obama and his administration see and solve the challenges of our country, and the world. As he proclaimed, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.”

Barack, may breakthrough be with you.

Jim Bandrowski

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Innovation through Fusionomics

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One avenue to strategic innovation is to slam together separate technologies or methodologies and see what you get. I call this “Fusionomics.” Think about Tex-Mex food and the mobile phone. Fusionomics is about to happen again. Get ready to have your iPod or iPhone be your game controller. One will be able to wave their iPod or iPhone like a motion controller for game consoles, similar to the Nintendo Wii technology. Social Gaming Network (SGN) has risen in visibility as a result of its iPhone and Facebook games. Now they are fusing web gaming and the iPhone in the iFun technology, and releasing its first free cross-platform game, iGolf. SGN CEO Shervin Pishevar describes their innovation as “the first time the mobile world, the Web world and social gaming have united liked this. This is like having a Wii on the go or a Wii in your hand.”

In my book, Corporate Imagination—Plus, published by The Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster, I explained several strategic innovation techniques. One method I detailed was “seeking combinations.” Fusion is a classic approach to creativity; things that already exist are linked together, in a marriage of thoughts.

In the food industry, in which I do extensive work, consider the examples of wine coolers, toaster waffles, milkshake breakfasts, chunky soups, and all of the “lite” foods. Additionally, years ago Procter & Gamble created an innovative new laundry product from two existing but separate products, a combination of detergent and fabric softener, named Bold 3. The products were commonly used together when washing clothes already, but required the purchase of two separate products; they just combined them in one product for a compelling marketing hook. How did the rest of their competitors miss this obvious combination?

Seeking effective combinations of existing products, yields innovative concepts and  powerful marketing niches; think cross-promotion sales and merchandising, retailer branded credit cards, and cross-over vehicles.

Examples abound. From a technological perspective, the key to relational databases, the fastest growing segment of the software industry, is the power of the programs to relate two different files of data, so long as they have some element in common.  Ever hear of a company that broke ground seeking combinations in this area named Oracle? Larry Ellison, the company’s driven CEO, is a remarkable breakthrough leader.

On a personal note, my thirteen year old twin boys, Eric and Ryan, and their two friends conceived the germ of the Wii concept six years ago in our family room when they were seven years old. I walked in one day and found them lined up watching Star Wars and in unison replicating the laser sword battle scenes with their toy light sabers. I asked them if they’d like to do this with their Sony Playstation, and they asked how. I said it would take a few years. In my next leadership development training session at the largest computer game publisher in the world, I offered the idea for free, and I recommended they partner with Sony and develop it. I repeatedly voiced the idea in each annual session with this company. For whatever reason, no action was taken on the idea and three years later, near-dead Nintendo launched the Wii, and subsequently screamed to the top of the computer game console industry, right past Sony. It broke my strategic heart.


Barack Obama is a Breakthrough Leader!

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Congratulations President-Elect Barack Obama! You have unquoed the status, as I call it, and ushered in a new era of leadership. And just in time.

America is awash in nearly paralyzing uncertainty and desperately sought a leader who can reverse the tide and restore the hopes and prosperity of our country. Barack Obama heard this desperation and saw an opening that would cross all previous boundaries of race, gender, class, age, and political affiliation. He crafted a campaign that resonated with Americans, and judging from the reaction here in Tokyo where I am currently delivering a workshop, as well as media reports from around the globe, it is also striking a chord with the rest of the world as well.

President-Elect Obama’s actions and statements thus far indicate that he holds a philosophy built on the principles of breakthrough leadership, innovation, and inclusion, with a mandate to drive change. His leadership style separated him from Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, and arguably from all of his predecessors, enabling him to deliver an improbable victory that has fundamentally altered the electoral landscape, and he stands poised to alter the world stage as well.

He is a transformative leader. He recognizes that his role as a strong executive is crucial, and he has marshaled his inner leadership strengths to be equal to the task. Importantly, he also acknowledges that he as a singular leader can not do it on his own. He has begun surrounding himself with a strong team and called for partisan partnership. But he also knows that Washington isn’t good enough.

America itself urgently needs to discover its own inner strength. We individually and collectively need to take up the mantle of leadership, as he alluded to in his speech in Chicago as the new President-Elect on election night.

In that stirring speech he spoke of the challenges we face and will face, and prepared the public for the rough road ahead. He knows that it is critical to look our problems in the face, name them, and employ deep leadership amplitude, digging into their root causes-what I call the “dark-side.” But he also spoke of America’s promise, of the goals to be achieved, the changes on the horizon, and the possibilities of what can be accomplished together. I call this the “light-side.”

Barack Obama assessed what America was, is, and can be, and he has repeatedly done this throughout his long march to this day. He has a masterful ability to incorporate both the light and dark sides, and factor them into a compelling vision, with a reasoned strategic action plan, employing a strong, disciplined, and consistent message of intent throughout the duration. This ability is the key to unlocking his breakthrough leadership approach. There is much to learn from his example for leaders in all facets of society.

It’s fitting that I kick off my blog at this moment, as this remarkable leader ascends. Because what the country and the world are seeing in this President-Elect’s leadership ability is something I have identified in exceptional leaders throughout the world, and throughout history.

It took years of research to crystallize it, but as a global keynote speaker, trainer, and leadership development consultant, I have concluded that there is One Thing that separates great leaders from good leaders. I identify it as amplitude. Leaders who operate with amplitude dig deep into the dark-side, to diagnose world or industry problems, which are breakthrough opportunities, and then leap and soar to the light-side, to find ideal solutions others can’t even begin to imagine, or are fearful and hesitant to entertain.

Breakaway Leaders, as I call them, know what others don’t-the impossible isn’t. And, while they are strategic innovators with a compelling vision, they are relentlessly pragmatic and know how to make their strategies an enduring reality.

I have spent the last fifteen years searching for and refining what I believe to be the essence of remarkable leaders. In presenting my findings to over 10,000 CEOs, executives, managers, and professionals around the globe, and asking for their candid feedback, I have received an astounding 99.9% confirmation that this one thing-amplitude-is it.

In future blog postings and books, I look forward to sharing with you how amplitude is the core competency of great leaders, so that you can learn how to harness yours effectively, and put yourself and your organization on the road to remarkable results.

In future postings I will reveal hundreds of insights about how world-changing leaders employ amplitude to accomplish breakthrough results, as well as practical applications. My objective is to enable every one of you to discover your inner strength, and use it maximally to prosper.

If we all work together it will help fulfill the mandate that our new President-Elect has set before us as a nation, and around the globe to make the world a better place.

Stay tuned to amp up.