Leadership – The BIG IDEAS
Leadership – The Big Ideas – Contents
Why should you know these Big Ideas?
In this resource section, we bring together the Big Ideas from all the “Leaders of Influence” that have been featured in other articles. These “Thought Leaders” have had, and continue to have significant influence and impact on leadership thinking. Their Big Ideas have influence Leadership, Organization Processes, Businesses, Culture, and Politics around the world.
These Big Ideas refer to core concepts, principles, theories, and processes that reflect “thought leadership” that was innovative at the time of their publication. These Big Ideas continue to echo in current leadership mindsets and in the training of future Leaders and Managers who influence organizations of all types. Understanding these Big Ideas will help you better navigate change and thrive in your career, leadership and business.
The originators or authors of these Big Ideas have sold millions of books that have become bestsellers based on their Big Ideas. They have also gone on to create long-term careers as educators, speakers, and service providers based on their Big Idea. Explore below these Big Ideas and the Leaders of Influence behind these ideas.
Michael Porter – Five Forces Analysis
Porter’s Five Forces Framework is a tool for analyzing the competition of a business. It draws from economics to derive five forces that determine the competitive intensity and, therefore, the attractiveness of an industry in terms of its profitability.
An “unattractive” industry is one in which the effect of these five forces reduces overall profitability. The most unattractive industry would be one approaching “pure competition,” in which available profits for all firms are driven to normal profit levels.
Porter’s Five Forces include:
- Substitutes: The threat of substitute products or services
- Rivals: The threat of established competitors
- New Entrants: The risk of new entrants
- Suppliers: The bargaining power of suppliers
- Customers: The bargaining power of customers.
Porter’s Five Forces
Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” was published in 1995. In the book, Goleman posits that emotional intelligence is as critical as Intelectual Quotient (IQ) for success, including in academic, professional, social, and interpersonal aspects of one’s life.
Goleman proposes that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught and cultivated, and outlines methods for incorporating emotional skills training.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others. Emotional Intelligence includes the ability to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately. High Emotional Intelligence individuals can use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior and to manage and adjust emotions to adapt to environments to achieve one’s goals.
Although the term Emotional Intelligence first appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch, it gained popularity in Goleman’s 1995 book. Criticisms since these proposals have centered on whether EI is real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and other personality traits.
Rachel Botsman – Collaborative Consumption
Rachel Botsman, author of “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption,” defines collaborative consumption as “traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities.”
Botsman states that we are reinventing “not just what we consume, but how we consume.” Botsman defines the three systems that make up collaborative consumption.
- Distribution Markets: Distribution markets where services are used to match haves and wants so that unused personal assets can be redistributed to places where they will be put to better use.
- Collaborative Lifestyles: Collaborative lifestyles allow people to share resources like money, skills, and time. This system is the sharing of intangible resources.
- Product Share Systems: Product share systems provide the benefits of the tangible product without having to own it outright, instead of buying products, they can be shared.
These different systems are changing society. They provide new employment opportunities, including ways for people to earn money peer-to-peer, and decreasing the ecological impact on the environment.
Jim Collins – Good to Great
Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. “Greatness” is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period.
Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. Collins identified seven characteristics of companies that went from “Good to Great:”
- Level 5 Leadership: Leaders are humble but driven to do what’s best for the company.
- First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go.
- Confront the Brutal Facts: Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.
- Hedgehog Concept: The intersection of three circles: 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine.
- Culture of Discipline: A disciplined organizational culture nurtures people who engage in disciplined thought and who take disciplined action.
- Technology Accelerators: Using technology to accelerate growth.
- The Flywheel: The additive and compound effect of many small initiatives.
“Good to Great” is about how to turn a good organization into one that produces sustained great results. Collins’ book “Built to Last” is about how to take a company with great results and turn it into an enduring great company of iconic stature.”
Gary Hamel – Core Competencies
Core Competency is a concept introduced by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel. It is defined as the combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in its marketplace. It is the foundation of the organization’s competitiveness.
Core Competencies fulfill three criteria:
- Access: Competencies provide access to a wide variety of markets.
- Benefits: Product or Service has significant customer benefits.
- Unique: Difficult to imitate by competitors.
A core competency results from a set of skills or production techniques that deliver additional value to the customer. These Competencies enable an organization to access a wide variety of markets.
The core business of an organization is an idealized construct intended to express that organization’s essential activity. This idea enabled the phenomenon of outsourcing, which allowed companies to hand over to others the processes and operations, such as IT, which were not “core” to their business.
Peter Drucker – Big Ideas
- Culture v’s Strategy: Drucker expressed the view that Company Culture constrains Strategy and can defeat Strategy. His idea that Culture trumps Strategy has been summarized as “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast.”
- Decentralization: Drucker asserted that companies work best when they are decentralized.
- Blue Collar: Drucker predicted the death of the “Blue Collar” worker.
- Outsourcing: Drucker, in his writing, used the concept of the “front room” and “backroom” of each business. He believed that a company should be engaged in only the front room activities that are critical to the core business. “Backroom” activities should be handed over to other companies, for whom these tasks are the “front room” activities.
- Non-Profit Sector: Drucker wrote about the importance of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) before they become popular.
- Human Resources: Drucker taught that knowledgeable workers are essential to the modern economy and that a hybrid management model best leveraged an employee’s value to the organization.
- People: Drucker viewed people as an organization’s most valuable resource.
- Management: Drucker believed that a manager’s job is to prepare people to perform and give them the freedom to do so.
- Government. Drucker claimed that the government was ineffective in providing the new services that people needed. His ideas dominated in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Planning: Drucker believed that taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure.
- Community. Drucker came to believe that volunteering in the nonprofit sector was the key to fostering a healthy society where people found a sense of belonging and civic pride.
- Business: Drucker taught that business needed to manage by balancing a variety of needs and goals, rather than subordinating to a single value.
- Profit: Drucker taught that a company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s sustainability.
- Focus on Strengths: “Do what you do best and outsource the rest” was coined and developed by Drucker in the 1990s.
Clayton M. Christensen – The Innovator’s Dilemma
Christensen’s best-selling book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail,” published in 1997, is focused on disruptive innovation. The book expands on the concept of disruptive technologies, a term he coined in a 1995 article “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave.”
The Innovator’s Dilemma demonstrates how successful companies can do everything “right” and yet still lose their market leadership, due to new, unexpected competitors rising up and taking over the market. There are two critical parts to this dilemma.
- Value to Innovation is an S-curve: Improving a product takes time and many iterations.
- Incumbent Sized Deals: The incumbent has the benefit of a considerable customer set but also high expectations of yearly sales.
The new smaller, more nibble entry companies do not require the yearly sales of the incumbent and thus have more time to focus and innovate. By the time the new product becomes attractive to the incumbent’s customers, it is too late for the incumbent to react to the new product. It is too late for the incumbent to keep up with the new entrant’s rate of product improvement and innovation.
Malcolm Gladwell – 10,000-Hour Rule
Malcolm Gladwell’s third non-fiction book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” was published in 2008. Throughout the book, Gladwell references the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Gladwell viewed the rule as a key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill. To a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours was a common factor for most successful people.
The “10,000-Hour Rule”, was based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claimed that greatness requires an enormous time investment in practice, and he provides several examples, including the Beatles, Bill Gates, and others. Gladwell explains that achieving the 10,000-Hour Rule, is the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task for a long time. The 10,000-Hour Rule can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for ten years.
Gladwell also notes that he himself took ten years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his tenure at The American Spectator and The Washington Post.
A Case Western Reserve University team has subsequently performed a review of over 9,000 research papers about practice relating to acquiring skills. In their paper, they found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. They conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued in Gladwell’s book.
John Kotter – 8-Step Process for Leading Change
John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change has become the benchmark model for managing large-scale change and consists of eight stages include:
- Create a Sense of Urgency: This initial step is part of educating and communicate the need for change. The urgency can be achieved by creating an aspirational opportunity statement that expresses the urgency of acting to change.
- Build a Guiding Coalition: A coalition of active stakeholders is required to sponsor, guide, coordinate, and communicate the necessary changes.
- Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives: Clarify and communicate how to make that future state a reality through an Action Plan linked directly to the Strategic Vision.
- Enlist a Volunteer Army: Large-scale change requires the large numbers of team members committing to a Joint Action Plan and Vision. Committed Team members need to be engaged to drive and champion the change.
- Enable Action by Removing Barriers: In Organisation Change Management, barriers such as inefficient processes and hierarchies need to be removed to enable change across departmental silos to create organizational-wide change.
- Generate Short-Term Wins: All wins, no matter how small, are stepping stones to the final result and need to be recognized, celebrated, and communicated. These wins are required to demonstrate progress and to energize and nurture the effort for change.
- Sustain Acceleration: With every win, increasing momentum is required to change systems, structures, and policies. A relentless effort is needed to drive change, so the change does not stale until the vision is achieved.
- Institute Change: Communicate and demonstrate how the changes are contributing to the organization’s success. The reinforcement of the change needs to be reinforced to ensure that the change is permanent.
Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle
Simon Sinek’s Big Idea is covered in his book titled “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” The book explores the two main ways to influence human behavior. Either by manipulation or inspiration. Sinek argues that inspiration is more powerful and sustainable.
Sinek proposes that people are inspired by a sense of purpose or “Why.” Why is at the center of the golden circle and that this should come first before communicating, “How” and “What.”
The golden circle idea has the “Why” in the innermost circle representing people’s motives or purposes. The “Why” circle is surrounded by a circle labeled “How” representing processes or methods. The final enclosing circle is the “What,” representing results.
Rita McGrath Discovery-Driven Planning
Discovery-driven planning is useful when operating in areas with significant amounts of uncertainty. It differs from conventional planning by incorporating flexibility in the project by allowing iteration on targets and budgets.
In discovery-driven planning, it is assumed that the planing parameters may change as new information is acquired. In discovery-driven planning, funds are released based on the accomplishment of key milestones or checkpoints, at which point additional funding can be made available based on reasonable expectations of the next step success.
Discovery-driven planning has five critical elements:
- Definition: The definition of success for the initiative.
- Benchmarking: The benchmarking against the market and competitive parameters.
- Requirements: The specification of operational requirements.
- Assumptions: The articulation and documentation of assumptions.
- Checkpoints: The articulation and documentation of key checkpoints.
The benefits of discovery-driven planning are that it is possible to iterate the ideas in a plan, and it encourages experimentation at a low cost.
Nilofer Merchant – The Future of Work in the Social Era
Nilofer Merchant coined the term “Onlyness,” to explain how to unleash undiscovered talent, ideas, and innovation lying within an organization. Merchant argues that, in the face of new, transformative technologies, organizations need to re-invent themselves, which means opening themselves up to the new social era.
Seth Godin – Permission Marketing
Permission Marketing is a concept introduced by Seth Godin in his 1999 book with the same name. Permission marketing is a non-traditional marketing technique that advertises goods and services when advance consent is given.
According to Godin, traditional “interruption marketing” has become less effective in the modern world, where consumers are overloaded with information. Permission Marketing is based on the following elements:
- Anticipated: Consumers should anticipate the service/product information from the company.
- Personal: Marketing information explicitly relates to the customer in a personal way.
- Relevant: The marketing information is relevant and of interest to the consumer.
Permission Marketing enables consumers to choose whether or not to be subjected to marketing.
Stephen Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published in 1989 by Stephen Covey. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals. Covey’s book has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. The audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies.
Habit 1: Be Proactive: “Be Proactive” is about taking responsibility for your reaction to your experiences, and to take the initiative to respond positively to improve the situation.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: “Begin with the End in Mind” is about envisioning what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.
Habit 3: Put First Things First: “Put First Things First,” talks about the difference between leadership and management. This habit distinguishes between what is important and what is urgent. Priority should be given in the following order:
Habit 4: Think Win/Win: “Think Win/Win” is about a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten their way.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood” is about using empathetic listening to understand a person genuinely. Listening to them, in turn, compels them to reciprocate and take an open mind to be influenced by you.
Habit 6: Synergize: “Synergize!” is about combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork to achieve goals that no one could have done alone.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: “Sharpen the Saw” is about continuous improvement in the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.
The 8th Habit
The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness was written by Stephen R. Covey, published in 2004. The eighth habit is, “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” The central idea of the book is the whole person paradigm, which holds that persons have four aspects – physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Denial of any of these reduces or diminishes an individual, inviting many problems.
Don Tapscott – Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
In the book “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and MacroWikinomics-Rebooting business and the world,” by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, Tapscott explores how companies have used mass collaboration and open-source technology to be successful.
According to Tapscott and Williams, four principles are the central concepts for Mass Collaboration:
- Openness: Which includes open standards and content, financial transparency, and an open attitude towards external ideas and resources.
- Peering: Replace hierarchical models with a more collaborative forum.
- Sharing: A sharing approach to products, intellectual property, bandwidth, and knowledge.
- Acting globally: Embracing globalization and ignoring boundaries.
Roger Martin – Integrative Thinking & Design Thinking
Integrative thinking is a methodology for solving complex problems. That theory was originated by Roger Martin and collaboratively developed with his colleague Mihnea C. Moldoveanu.
Integrative Thinking is defined as the ability to face the tensions of opposing models constructively. Instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, Integrative Thinking involves generating a creative resolution to the tension in the form of a new model. The model contains elements of the individual models but is superior to each.
Roger Martin’s book, “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage,” describes the concept of design thinking. The book explains how companies can incorporate Design Thinking into their organizational structure for long term innovation and results.
Design Thinking balances analytical and intuitive forms of business thinking. It combines an openness to an exploitative mentality, striking a balance between innovation and a systematic scalable process.
Ken Blanchard – The One Minute Manager
Blanchard’s BIG IDEA, “The One Minute Manager,” is explained in a short book he co-authored called “The One Minute Manager,” which was published in 1982. The book tells a story, recounting three techniques of an effective manager. The three methods are:
- One-minute Goals: Goals needs need to be kept front and center to determine if the behavior is matching your goal. Goal setting is an essential tool for management because it provides immediate feedback to a team member.
- One-minute Praise: Praise communicates that the manager cares. Taking a moment to comment on something a team member has done that you value, provides feedback, and reinforces positive behaviors. Praising includes timely feedback, sharing with them what they did right, sharing how you feel about it, and encouraging them to do more of the same.
- One-minute Reprimand (or Re-Direct): The One-minute Reprimand management technique has recently been updated in Blanchard’s updated book called the “The NEW One Minute Manager.” The update changes Reprimand to read One Minute Re-Directs. According to Blanchard: “The difference between a reprimand and redirection is whether a person is a learner or not. A Reprimand is for when a person knows better than what they are doing. A Re-Direct is for a person who is a learner. Today, with the constant need for skill development, everyone is a learner.”
Each of these key management actions can take as little as a minute but are purported to have lasting benefits as feedback and coaching for a team member.
Guy Kawasaki – Evangelism Marketing
Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple Computer, is considered the father of Evangelism Marketing. Evangelism Marketing is a form of word-of-mouth marketing in which companies develop customers who believe so strongly in a particular product or service that they freely try to convince others to buy and use it. Evangelist customers spread their recommendations and recruit new customers out of pure belief, not for money.
Evangelist customers often become vital influencers. The fact that evangelists are not paid or associated with any company makes their beliefs perceived by others as credible and trustworthy. An example is the Harley Owners Groups (HOGS), which connects bikers locally and globally through meetings held all over the world.
There are three types of marketing in this form:
- Evangelism Marketing which applies to any product.
- Technology Evangelism is the evangelism marketing of technology or tool.
- Platform Evangelism is the evangelism marketing to create complementary products and services for the platform’s commercial ecosystem to maximize network effects.
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Books about Big Ideas
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by James C. Collins, 2001
- The Core Competence of the Corporation, by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, Harvard Business Review, 1990
- Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, by Michael Porter, 1980
- The Essential Drucker, by Peter Drucker, 2000
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, by Clayton M. Christensen, 1997
- Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, 2008
- Leading Change: An Action Plan from the World’s Foremost Expert on Business Leadership, by John Kotter, 1988
- Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, 1995
- What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, 2010
- Start with Why, by Simon Sinek, 2009
- Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity, by Ian C MacMillan and Rita Gunther McGrath, 2009
- 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, by Nilofer Merchant, 2012
- Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin, 1999
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, 1989
- Open Up (The World), by Anthony D. Williams and Don Tapscott, 2010
- “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and MacroWikinomics-Rebooting business and the world”, by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, 2011
- The Design of Business, by Roger Martin, 2009
- The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, 1982
- Selling the Dream, by Guy Kawasaki, 1991
Videos about Big Ideas
How great leaders inspire action – Simon Sinek
Stephen R Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The Holy Grail of Marketing – Guy Kawasaki
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