Confidently Vulnerable

Good Morning Innovation Leaders, Recently, Maggie Nichols, Ranch COO - posted this on the private - Innovaition Engineering Black Belt blog -- I'm reposting it on the public blog because I think it's an important message

At the Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute in North Carolina I had the fine and rare pleasure to meet a remarkable woman.  Clare Crawford-Mason was the Senior Producer for, among many other things, the famed “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?”  She produced the iconic NBC News White Paper that aired decades ago and, “began the Quality Revolution in America and introduced W. Edwards Deming to Western managers.”  The stories and insights she has on Deming, leadership, history, quality, publishing and life are beyond comprehension.

Over a lively dinner with her and her husband, Bob Mason, the interviewers quickly became the interviewees as we discussed the current day challenges of innovation and their similarities to the quality movement and so many other points throughout history and culture.  (Clare’s and Bob’s commentary will undoubtedly be the subject of many a blog post.)

Clare’s response to a very specific question was so clear and simple - I immediately knew it would be the subject of today’s blog.

Early in the evening we were discussing the very important job of leadership in innovation and the seemingly opposing roles you often play - leading the organization with confidence yet at the same time being openly vulnerable that you don’t know everything, that you need help and that you’re willing to fail.  From there the conversation meandered through Eastern and Western thought, thought leaders through time, even the advent of the written word and the effects on society.  But throughout the hours of talking, my mind kept wandering back to this unsettled argument of these ideal strong, yet vulnerable leaders.

So finally, as we were just about to adjourn, I had to come back around to the start. I asked Clare, “How does a leader gracefully lead with confidence and vulnerability?”

Her answer:  “Attention.  Compassion. And Gratitude.”

With prompting she further elaborated.

“Attention means being in the present moment. 

Compassion means a real and genuine love for the other person - your employee, your staff, your partner, your peer.

And Gratitude means being grateful for what you have today.”

Innovation Leaders, my call to you today is a very simple one.  Today be mindful of leading with attention, compassion and gratitude.  And know how very very grateful we are to you for leading this new world revolution with us.