In a brainstorming session at a recent workshop, I listened to a banter between two participants. It made me laugh. It was also profound.
A: “It’s a dream you are proposing. It’s impossible. How can we make impossible happen?”
B: ” You mean, you don’t know how to do the impossible?”
A: ” yes, that is why it is called impossible”
B: “well the way to do the impossible is to do it. “
Later in that day I watched “First Man”, the movie about Neil Armstrong. As a kid, when I learnt about Neil, it was just a fact. Neil was the first man on moon. On that day in 1969, 530 million people watched him take the ‘giant leap for mankind.’
The movie shredded my perceptions about landing on moon. I never knew the hardships in many fronts. How Neil struggled at home with sick kids. His daughter died at age two suffering from a malignant brain tumor. Never knew about his wife’s enormous strength and endurance. How he lost 3 of his fellow astronauts from a fire in a testing capsule. Never knew he escaped near death in many a missions. How thousands of NASA team members worked day and night to achieve the impossible, while citizens marched against mega budgets dedicated to moon landing, which could have gone in to pressing needs in America like poverty and racial tension.
It was impossible to go to moon, until that very moment Neil landed on Moon.
The more we run from our fears, the bigger they get. Yet, when we go right in to them, fears evaporate and vanish.
A new year always gets us in to make resolutions. We want to be better. Our intentions are most of the time inclined towards our progress. Yet, acting on good intentions need perseverance, committed time and will to succeed.
If we do the same thing we did last year, we would get the same results in the new year.
Common complain is that we do not have time. To do something new, you need to give time from something that is not productive right now. Because, adding a new habit needs time taken off from an existing habit. Not all habits we have right now is productive. So when you chose a new habit, chose a habit to let go as well.
It’s like when you have one space garage. If you want to move a new vehicle, you have to remove the existing vehicle. Your 24 hours is your one space garage.
Most of us, when we hear about “innovation” tend to visualise staff retreats, having fun and been creative by expressing ideas. Then come up with that ‘aha’ moment, and go and work on it. Once in a year routine, may be twice a year.
Far from it. Innovation in reality is loads of hard work, an emotional drainage, and a creator of many awkward and uncomfortable moments. If not driven well, it can derail even the most honest intentions.
Right now, in this age, if the head of organization is not leading innovation process, nothing will happen differently. Discussions may happen, but changes won’t be there. From next week, it will be back to old stuff.
So, then what is the role of the leader? Instead of thinking I have to give the grand vision and inspire people to follow, a leader must co-create space that people on their own generate new ideas, test, get it right, fail, generate ideas again, repeat.