Humble Leadership and the Chaos of Creating

Recently I wrote about the power of humility in leadership, how the role of a leader is to be “Keeper of the Vision” then simply create a space for those in the business to pose puzzles and ask questions, then to solve the puzzles and answer the questions.

In that article I noted Satya Nadella of Microsoft saying

“Make it Happen, You have full permission”

So, when I talk about these and other ideas in #OpenLeadership as being the leadership we need for today, one could imagine that I am saying they are new concepts.

Absolutely not, simply that such thinking is not currently mainstream.

There is so much to learn from the past, added to which I am a believer in “there is no such thing as an original idea”

With that, I love this post from Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void in which he gives an example from over 50 years ago of a leader who chose to :

Find the people, give them the space they need to do their best work, then get out of the way

innovation happens bottom up

Bill Bernbach was known as the most creative force ever in the advertising business.

He really was.

He literally was to advertising what Newton was to physics. There was advertising before Bill, and advertising after Bill. It’s really that simple.

The funny thing is, the ads he is most known for (e.g. the seminal Volkswagen ads from the early 1960s) weren’t actually created by him, they were the work of his employees, like Helmut Krone, Phyllis Robinson and Bob Levinson.

Bill just found the people, gave them the space they needed to do their best work, then got out of the way.

A half century later, the process seems pretty seamless.

At the time, it would’ve been really messy and chaotic, but don’t let hindsight fool you.

This is how real history is made- not on the maps in the General’s tent, but in the trenches, under fire, at the end of a bayonet.

A good General knows this. A bad one doesn’t.

Make of this what you will.

Thank you Hugh !

Hugh McLeod is a great inspiration to me in the way he captures thoughts with art. He also draws a lot of what I call “virtuous circles”, including this favourite of mine :

inspire be inspired



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