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LEADERSHIP

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The imagination imperative

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Routine thinking leads nowhere in times of change, writes Pete Gerend

Do you believe leaders are inherently imaginative? Is it possible that leaders emerge because they are somehow better equipped to see things that the average person cannot? Or do the best leaders acquire tools that allow them to constantly work to expand their imaginations? Last year, I worked with the top 80 HR people from a global financial services company. Part of this work entailed walking the group through an exercise using a strategy cascade developed by Roger Martin & AG Lafley. The first step of the framework is to ‘define your winning aspiration’. Around this I asked each leader to develop a point of view on the destination their organization was hoping to reach. After a few minutes, one of the leaders raised his hand. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “We don’t have a clearly defined destination.” A troubling statement indeed. “What do you mean?” I asked. “My team is just responsible for compensation and benefits. We outline the plans for people across the organization. We don’t have a vision.” I was more than a little surprised. And more than a little worried. This company has tens of thousands of employees worldwide. Interpreting the company’s vision through the scope of how he and his team approaches supporting those employees for their hard work – compensation and benefits – would affect firm culture and employee retention, and would be an impactful magnification of the overall corporate vision. We went back and forth a few more times and I learned that not only had he never created

Dialogue Q3 2018

Dialogue Q3 2018  
Dialogue Q3 2018