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Are You Changing the Game?

by Guest Writter
Nathan Ott, CEO of eg.1

By the very nature of our role, as leaders, we need to create a vision that galvanizes people. We have to empower our teams to keep our organizations moving forward. To be truly successful we have to constantly challenge the status quo and encourage our people to change the game before the competition changes it for us.

This is not easy. The challenge we have, as leaders, is that we are measured for the most part on strict financial metrics – there’s no room to make a mistake. Naturally this filters down through our organizations, and our assessment frameworks reward people based on achieving the required corporate tasks and objectives. Any organization, no matter how innovative it is, needs a level of order, process and structure. But this focus on standard metrics that perpetuate journeys up the corporate ladder stifle innovation and the ability for our organizations to adapt to the threats to traditional business.

If we want to change the game we need to try to create a culture that enables these game-changing individuals, in our organizations to realise their potential and move us forward.

Our new study, The DNA of a Game Changer, has cracked the code. It identifies the common themes running through these game-changing individuals – ten characteristics that will help us identify these people in our workplace. They are not our “high potentials” or “leaders” these are a different breed altogether. These Game Changers have the potential to change their landscape within our organizations regardless of the level the operate:

  • Risk taker
  • Big picture thinker
  • Creative idea generator
  • Obsessive drive to succeed
  • Great at articulating a vision
  • Strong influencer of people
  • Passionate about the idea
  • Very strategic
  • High on vigour
  • Likeable

It is important to note that most people see Game Changers as entrepreneurs in the classic mould – Steve Jobs, Anita Roddick, James Dyson, Natalie Massenet to name just a few. These are singularly focused individuals who through a combination of skill, passion, determination, sheer obsession and sometimes luck, have upended old industries or spawned entirely new ones in the process creating economic value and employment.

Whilst it’s true to say these now famous people have changed their own game or landscape our research suggests the vast majority of Game Changers are hidden within our organizations. They can be doing any role and operate at any level but they possess this “Obsessive Imagination” which is at the core of any Game Changer. However, game changing behaviours and corporate culture are often incompatible and as a consequence it’s rare that we realise the full potential of the Game Changers sitting right under our noses.

The classic entrepreneurial story is of an employee growing frustrated with not being able to get management to see the value in their new product suggestion or great idea. The consequence, they ‘do their own thing’ or join a competitor.

As leaders we need to break this cycle if we are to continue to innovate and keep ahead of the curve. We have seen many businesses be consumed or fall from grace over the past decade and even the most conservative CEO recognizes that this trend will continue. There is a huge opportunity, and some will say necessity, for innovation and game changing individuals at every level and within every department of our organizations. The winners of the future will be those who can create a culture that enables and empowers their people to realise their Game Changer potential not just climb the greasy pole.

Limiting our perception of who can be a Game Changer or how they should do things, limits the potential of organizations to harness Game Changing capability. Our new study explains, this notion of “Obsessive Imagination” and will empower leaders to embed a more accepting and flexible culture for those people to test the art of the possible.

At a glance the key behaviours of a Game Changer may seem quite common, but it’s the combination of these characteristics and their “Obsessive Imagination” that makes them so difficult to spot and unleash within the corporate world. As Steve Jobs famously said: “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Now is the time to foster a culture within which game-changing individuals can thrive – it is this that will deliver outstanding results for our organizations.

For a free copy of The DNA of a Game Changer visit www.eg1.co.uk

About the Author

Nathan Ott is CEO and Co-Founder of eg.1, a business insight and talent consultancy. As CEO, Nathan works across all practice areas; his time is balanced between the needs of clients, the development of the team, and the growth and direction of eg.1.

Prior to eg.1 Nathan began his career in research working for a specialist executive search firm; after three years he joined an international consultancy providing business and technology solutions to the professional services sector. Nathan holds a degree in International Business and Economics from the University of Westminster and Universitat d’Alacant respectively.

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