Leadership for Life – Connections

By on March 2, 2015
Leadership for Life - Connections

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Great leaders have all kinds of talents, among them being one that is often overlooked when it’s time to assess possible leadership candidates. That talent is the ability to connect seemingly disparate entities, which enables the creation of something new. That, by the way, is one definition of innovation.

I’ll leave it to the professional assessment types to figure out if there’s a paper and pencil test to measure this talent, but as a layman, I like to think I know it when I see it. In fact, I try to practice the skill as much as I can, since as we all “know,” practice makes perfect. I haven’t reached perfection yet, but I’ll get there in a few (hundred) years.

To see how it works, let’s try a little thought experiment. Following are two quotes from a couple of very different people. How well can you connect these two quotes and create a new concept or business tool?

“The most important thing in a communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

It doesn’t matter whether either of the above statements are true or untrue. What matters is how we put the statements (or parts of the statements) together to create something new. Here are some brainstormed results:

  • Communicate with passion
  • Curiosity leads to communication
  • You can read body language better when you’re passionate and/or curious
  • Passion leads to curiosity

Don’t like them? Come up with your own.

I don’t know if Peter Drucker and Albert Einstein ever met. Probably not. But what if they had? What innovations might have come from a two hour meeting between the two of them? What other pairs of talented people can you think of whose respective talents could be combined to make something great happen? What about …

  • Bill Gates and Henry Ford
  • Maya Angelou and Oscar Wilde
  • John Lennon and Isaac Newton
  • H.G. Wells and Donald Trump
  • Isaac Asimov and John Cleese
  • Marie Curie and Marilyn Monroe
  • Robin Williams and Mother Theresa

You can make a game of it. Come up with your own unlikely pairing and then suggest a book title they could have collaborated on or an invention they could have developed. This could be the start of something big … Hmm, there could be something in that.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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