As usual, I’m the last person to see that movie everyone liked as I tend to shy away from movies with hype. I got around to seeing Money Ball last night and I have to say, as someone who doesn’t like baseball, it was, at minimum, a very entertaining movie.
As a leader and innovator I find myself instantly identifying with Billy Beane and Peter Brand in their struggle to change the way things are done.
Here’s three questions I find myself asking as a innovative leader:
Am I Surrounded By Traditionalists?
I was hooked when Billy sat at the table with his veteran scouts and they chatted him up on how they like this player and that player didn’t look like an athlete and Billy knew there had to be more to it than this. They were coming up with answers. They were good answers. They were the right answers.
The hardest realisation you come to as an innovator is when you realize you’re surrounded by people who have no idea what is around the next corner or they have other motives for maintaining the status quo (like keeping their jobs – which may have become irrelevant). It hurts and is lonely.
So take a look at the room; who is asking the right questions? Who is uninterested in the way things ‘have always been’ as they contemplate what might be a better way of doing things?
Am I Willing To Hand The Keys Over?
Billy Beane saw something in Peter Brand who was fresh out of college and had a new perspective on things. When a bright young innovator is given the room to try new things by someone who has real power, amazing things will happen.
Why wait until a young mind is polluted by a career or years of grinding it out in an organization, tap into their energy and ideas NOW before it’s too late and they’re just like everyone else. It’s not even about age, being willing to move vertically as well as laterally within your team can make room for people who might actually be better at some things than you.
Am I Willing to Take Risk?
Innovation does not come without risk, Billy was heading into uncharted waters and had to fight a lot of resistance along the way. His career was on the line.
If you can’t take a risk, then you’re not invited to the innovation party…plain and simple.
Bonus Question: Do I Want to Change the Game?
The thing that had me most excited was that Billy’s drive wasn’t just to win games or the world series…he wanted to change the game.
This isn’t for everybody but it struck a nerve with me because it’s exactly what drives me every day. I want to completely change the game in my industry and not simply grow my organization or climb up the ladder; I expect those to come naturally along the way. It may be the true sign of an innovative leader; in my case…well…we’ll see.
What questions do you ask as an innovating leader?