Question 6 of the Seven Questions Innovative Leaders Ask

from the Break Through, Vol. 1, Post 13

Here we are at the moment of the Break Through!  We’ve looked out at the landscape, refined our vision, foreseen challenges, brainstormed a LOT of ideas, and then chosen the best of the best and transformed those top ideas into solutions … we are ready to implement and hit the ground running.

This is the moment when so many leaders’ great visions, solutions, and strategies miss their biggest opportunity yet. Context is everything, and this is the time to consider it.

Isn’t that what you answered in question 1 though? “What’s happening?”

Kind of.  You collected data, evidence, and observations about the landscape for your vision.  But since then, your ideas have been refined, new challenges have been identified, your vision has evolved and strengthened. Now is the time to consider your clarified vision in the context of this landscape.  What and who will specifically assist you in implementation? What and who will definitely resist you in implementation?

A simple way of looking at this: opening a vegan restaurant with locally sourced food in Fort Collins is different than opening the same restaurant in Dodge City. This is NOT to say that opening such a restaurant in Dodge City is impossible, not by any means.  Instead, the challenges are different, AND so are the opportunities.

Again, much of this may have come up while answering earlier questions, but now is the time to really pause, look around, and fully consider your vision in its potential context. By spending some more time here on context you will undoubtedly identify new challenges, and even more importantly, more innovative solutions.

There is no formula for successful leadership or organizational development, because context changes the variables far too much. Yet there are best practices.  And when the knowledge base and those skills from best practices are adapted to your now clearly defined context and applied to your incredibly refined vision, then, and only then, can you proceed on to design an implementation strategy that will succeed.