Reconsider These Leadership Mantras

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Holding on to traditional management mantras may be stopping your organization from moving forward. Also: how one nonprofit brought its event theme to life in a fresh way.

Are conventional leadership mantras holding you back from innovating? Sometimes best practices and forward thinking don’t go hand in hand.

An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review shares several typical management mantras that need some rethinking. Take this one, for example: “We need to define the problem we are trying to solve.” The author, Polina Makievsky, argues that an innovative thinker should focus not on the problem but on the positive goal she wants to achieve.

“To conduct a productive idea-generation process and motivate employees, it’s important to define an aspirational North Star for every innovation effort,” writes Makievsky. “In human-centered design, this is called a ‘positive goal statement,’ and it articulates the person or group you seek to influence and the behavior you want to see occur.”

The need for a “big idea” is another common management mantra, but Makievsky says small ideas can deliver big results: “Instead of trying to eat the whale in one swallow, organizations should tackle smaller, incremental challenges.”

By for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

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