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Leadership Concept

Leadership Concept: Valuing Ideas

A key leadership concept is to create a positive culture.

There are real benefits to be gained from getting the basics right.

This short story illustrates how each of these basics can be symbolized by one simple example – and we should never underestimate the power of symbols in defining organisational culture.

So what are the basics of our key leadership concept? Valuing ideas!

Waste of Money or an Investment in Time?

Of course, it’s one thing to place a value on creativity, but good leadership is about creating the culture that allows ideas it to flourish. You can do this by:

– ensuring you place a high value on the ideas of others;

– allowing time to foster creativity;

– building on the strengths of your colleagues;

– trusting them to deliver.

Henry Ford is not often used to illustrate the importance of creative time and space. This story however, acutely demonstrates the application of our key leadership concept.

The importance of trusting people and nurturing their creativity – and of remembering the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.

It’s said that Ford once enlisted an efficiency expert to examine the operation of his company. While his report was generally favorable, the man did express reservations about a particular employee.

“It’s that man down the corridor,” he explained.

“Every time I go by his office he’s just sitting there with his feet on his desk. He’s wasting your money.”

“That man,” replied Ford, “once had an idea that saved us millions of dollars. At the time, I believe his feet were planted right where they are now.”

Seeing the difference between effectiveness and efficiency again illustrates our key leadership concept. Recognising that the value of effectiveness shouldn’t be sacrificed solely to the demands of efficiency is the first step. Actively promoting and facilitating creativity is the next. Start with yourself. Think about your own situation and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you build in time to think about what you do?
  • How can you better differentiate efficiency from effectiveness?
  • Does your organisation’s culture value ideas?
  • Does it facilitate creativity?
  • Do you?

Effectiveness, Efficiency or Busyness?

This leadership concept is reinforced in our article about 3M’s “Bootleg” time. Making space for creativity may seem wasteful in the short-term, because that time may not be immediately or obviously productive. In the long term however, it makes sense.

Obvious? Perhaps, but how often do we give ourselves or our colleagues the time to sit with our feet up and think?

Confusing activity with productivity is quite common in the workplace. Whereas time invested in creativity and identifying opportunities adds value, “busyness” is really time wasting.

Our Henry Ford story was sourced from an article on the “Pursuit of Busyness”, which discusses the challenge of managing busyness. You can find more advice on this hidden time waster in our article: Is Busyness Killing Business?

Or for advice on the most effective way to spend your time, read Richard Koch’s classic book:The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less.

Where to go from here:


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