Leading Change

Purpose + Impact

Three principles for leading with purpose and positively impacting the world.

I’ve been reading some of the report outs from the JPM Healthcare conference this week. As expected with a financially oriented conference, there was a lot of discussion about growth, profit and returns and the need for innovation and process improvement over value extraction.

On that note, I started reading Be Fearless by Jean Case last week and feel that it’s worth your time to read. Jean shares the five [5] principles for leading from a place of purpose and positively impacting the world.

The three [3] principles that resonated with me the most are:

Start where you are

I met with the CEO of health tech startup a few weeks ago and explained how I start engagements. It helped her put words to her own experience and the gap in expectation versus reality that often exists. 

There is nothing new or special about my approach. It’s something auditors routinely do and what Steve Blank recommends to innovators and entrepreneurs. Look at the data and then get out of your building [or office] to see what’s really going on. There is often a gap in what you expect and reality.

Getting a good grasp of where you’re starting from is the first step for leading any initiative. The data might be incomplete or inaccurate but chances are you have more than what you need to get started.

Lots of small steps

There are literally a million little steps that have to be taken to realize a big vision but progress gets people excited to take the next step. In the early stages, the next step is all that really matter as long as it aligns with the organization’s purpose and your vision.

Initiatives often take longer than expected. Enthusiasm waxes and wains, mistakes happen and money runs short. To keep people engaged through the rough patches, leaders need to be constantly reminding people of where they are going. Think about how many times Elon Musk tells us that he’ll be taking us to Mars.

“You can’t have progress, growth, and innovation without people who desire what’s best for the company, even if they make a few mistakes every now and then.” ~ Jacob Morgan

Having the right investors on board can also help. Several of the companies profiled in Be Fearless have impact investors which is not an investor category that I’ve heard startups talk about but that could be a good option – especially for healthcare.

Reframe failure

This is probably the best reframe of failure that I’ve ever heard…”you haven’t failed until you give up.” 

Most leaders and organizations don’t give up on their purpose. They give up on a strategy or an initiative that isn’t achieving the desired result. Learn, pivot or scrap the entire model and try again. Starting over can be a bit painful [emotionally and financially] but it’s not the end unless you give up.

Join me on the mat

On a personal note, I will be teaching Community Pilates Mat classes starting in February, 2020. I’ve been practicing Pilates for more than 20 years and started Pilates Teacher training last year.

Funny Story: Last year I ordered a new mat from Amazon and received a box of 10. At the time, I didn’t know if it was an early AI initiative or simply a mistake. Either way, the gift of mats from Amazon is being paid forward via the community classes. I’m sure Jeff Bezos would be pleased to know the outcome.

About Pilates: Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates to address some of his own health issues. He accredited his program for keeping fellow detainees healthy at an internment camp [1918-1919] and for rehabbing wounded soldiers. In 1926 he established a studio in New York in the same building as the New York Ballet and started working with dancers. Many athletes and others from all walks of life now use Pilates to rehab injuries and maintain their health.

Yes to Pilates: If you want to be added to my list for community mat classes please send me a reply.