We are living in a fast-changing world—business is moving quicker than ever before, our clients and suppliers are increasingly demanding, resources are being cut, the demographics of the workplace are changing with 4 generations at work (baby boomers, Gen X, Y and Z etc). And yet with all of this, every single one of us is being asked to ideate, innovate and create. We are being asked to rethink what we do, how we communicate with each other, and how we will operate as leaders and businesses into the future.

Drive change and innovation

We need authentic leadership capable of amplifying others, commercial collaboration to drive change and innovation and a culture of freedom within our organisations that enables and celebrates individual thought and opinion; that allows people to be heard and to be seen; where everyone can be self-expressed.

Above all we need our leaders to quit the realms of beige leadership; of hiding in corner offices, behind job titles and business cards, and start standing for something.  True leadership is about being known for something; it’s about positioning up with confidence and influencing out with conviction.

Most Admired Company

Over 20 years ago Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, saw something no one else could see. Bezos has turned Amazon into the world’s No. 2 Most Admired Company (after Apple). Despite being highly demanding, thousands aspire to be work for him, drawn to his vision.

Bono, lead singer of U2, uses his rockstar positioning and mass appeal to influence and drive change. He helped persuade global leaders to write off debt owed by the poorest countries. Through his ONE and (RED) campaigns, he enlists organisations and millions of people to combat AIDS, poverty, and preventable diseases. As he says, “Real leadership is when everyone else feels in charge.”

Since joining forces with the UN’s refugee agency in 2001, Angelina Jolie has undertaken 50 field missions to countries including Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. Her decision to explain her pre-emptive double mastectomy in a New York Times editorial created much controversy and yet further illustrated her willingness to take a public stand and start the difficult conversation. Former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said “Angelina Jolie represents a new type of leadership in the 21st century. Her strength lies in the fact that she is able to influence governments and move public opinion at the same time.”

Ways to drive changes

  1. Build a network of transformational connections
    The connections you create are the ones that will decide your success or failure. Don't be afraid to network. Own it and become the nexus, building connections that will transform you – a select group of people providing quality thinking, creating new perspectives, pushing you further than you could ever go alone, supporting you and taking great pleasure is seeing you succeed.
  2. Lead out and embrace diversity
    Lead out and see the potential in new connections, in the collective intelligence bank of brainpower. Understand that in working together, respecting the myriad of different viewpoints and abilities creates opportunity. Leading out is facing out; it is to lead towards mutual opportunities for success.
  3. Beat your own drum
    You matter. Every choice and action we take, every word that we speak, has the ability to influence others and in turn, the decisions being made at that moment in time. Your views are unique to you. Walk the talk and own the change you want to see.
  4. Step out of status quo
    You have to be your key competition so make sure your first competitive audit is always with yourself. Better the last goal; ask the hard questions—are you growing in sales, profit, learning? Status quo is the enemy of change, of new ideas and new thinking. Leaders need to be constantly curious, ask why and explore more.
  5. Speak up and collaborate openly
    Collaborate openly and willingly, with complete, honest and full disclosure and you will have the ability to influence one-to-one, many-to-many, more-to-more. Your team, your colleagues, your leaders, your children, your friends, your family; but true influence requires one critical thing—for you to speak up.

One thing is certain—the world is moving very quickly. If you continue to sit in the solo business space of ‘me' then inevitably you’ll come to an influential standstill. Stand in your spotlight, own your vision and position up because it is here that you have the chance to influence more through inspiring, shifting and creating movement around you.