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Big Changes Need Wave Makers 4 tips for how to develop them By Patti Johnson You have a change to lead, a transformation in the works, and a need for more innovation. Is the committed circle too small? You, as well as any leader, can’t have all of the answers. Your change becomes a reality when others – in every part of the organization – look for how they can contribute. They see their role in the change – their wave. They may start small at first, but they start a ripple that grows. Change starts because individuals decide to act and be part of it. You need what I call Wave Makers™. They know they have a role to play. They ask “what if?’, ‘what can I do?’, and ‘how can I help?’ They spark innovation, drive up performance, accelerate development and shake up the status quo. Wave Makers don’t just appear, but they can be developed with the right experiences, encouragement and environment. It starts with you and how you develop talent in your organization from the day they join. Here are four actions you can take to develop more Wave Makers in your organization: 1. Ask Questions that Challenge Conventional Wisdom Waves develop not because one person was a creative genius, Interactive but often because of taking the time to ask insightful questions and being open to the answer. These questioners have a habit of exploring and being curious about why and how. You may think that some people are just naturally creative or innovative and others aren’t, but that isn’t really true, according to researchers Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen in their book Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disrupting Innovators. Dyer and Gregersen share, “You learn to see what isn’t there today by habitually asking the right questions: “Why?” “Why must it be that way?” “What if?” “What’s the alternative?” So what do we learn from (Steve) Jobs’s ability to think differently? Well, first we see that his innovative ideas didn’t spring fully formed from his head, as if they were a gift from the Idea Fairy. When we examine the origins of these ideas, we typically find that the catalyst was: • a question that challenged the status quo • an observation of a technology, company or customer • an experience or experiment where he was trying out something new • a conversation with someone who alerted him to an imleadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 04.2014 72


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