September 20, 2011

Leadership Limerick: The Power of the Little Bet

Every Monday, I offer a leadership limerick, highlighting an idea or strategy about effective leadership in limerick form. Searching for leadership limerick will identify previous posts.

If big challenges have yet to be met
But falling short will leave folks upset

Instead of making a big play
When you’re unsure of the way

You might want to make a little bet

Pursuing big and bold paths is often the way to produce the most innovative results, but getting in action can more easily be accomplished through experimentation and prototyping to quickly learn what works and what doesn't, refining your efforts as you go.
The idea of small investments is found throughout the literature.  Built to Last tells us to try stuff and see what works.  The power of small wins is extolled in The Leadership Challenge and most recently, The Progress Principle: using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work.  But I really like how this thinking is expressed in Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge Through Small Discoveries:
“Little bets are for learning about problems and opportunities while big bets are for capitalizing upon them once they’ve been identified.” 
Association professionals around the world this week are talking about experimentation, innovation, and achieving better results as a part of ASAE's inaugural InnovationTalks, a week-long campaign to stimulation conversations about, and commitments to, innovation in the association community.  I had the honor of helping lead this campaign and of writing the Conversation Kit groups can use to design and manage conversations in their own organizations.  There's still time to join one of the public Talks or connect with your own colleagues in a conversation about innovation in your organization.  Lear more and download the Conversation Kit here.  And follow Tweets about the Talks at #asaeinnov

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