January 2015 | Nano Tools | Innovation
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Yoram (Jerry) Wind, PhD, The Lauder Professor, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School
Continuously refresh your thinking and that of your organization by using three methods for challenging your mental models.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he challenged the conventional assumptions of what mobile phones were by combining the iPod, phone, camera, and touchscreen into a single device. It was a revolutionary product — one that now accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenues. This success, like that of other Apple products, is largely attributed to the company’s ability to challenge its mental models and those of its industries.
This ability is particularly important, even critical to survival, in times of change. Today that change could be considered the only constant, as revolutionary innovations continuously transform the business landscape. Social media barely existed in the early-2000s, yet it’s now one of the most important sources of marketing and advertising for businesses. Technological advancements continue to move society toward a global economy in which everyone is more connected and everything is more transparent.
Although challenging mental models is essential, it’s not an easy task — especially for large, established businesses. The median turnover rate for the Fortune 500 list is 39 per year — up from 29 prior to 1995. To remain successful, your organization needs to establish practices that help you stay ahead in today’s dynamic environment.
To be most effective, you need to challenge mental models on both an individual and a team basis. Consider your weekly or monthly meetings, and challenge yourself and your team to find ways to build each of these three highly effective practices into your daily lives. In Part Two of this Nano Tool, you will learn more approaches that can be implemented at the organizational level.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools’ Academic Director is John Paul MacDuffie, Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management.
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