2012 CEO Resolution: Disciplined Dreaming!

During the holidays I focused far less on business and far more on family and friends. Pushing back from normal activities gave extra time for some creative thinking. High on my list was reading one of 2011’s top business books, Disciplined Dreaming.

Author Josh Linkner is a  successful serial entrepreneur.  Founder of ePrize, a dominant company in the promotions industry, he’s proven the value of tapping into the creativity of the every individual in his business. His book outlines various processes and techniques that encourage and enable innovation among employees.

But what about the CEO? If the CEO doesn’t dream, the business doesn’t grow. Most business leaders find it easier to work in their business than on it, i.e. to handle urgent operational matters than to focus on important growth initiatives. Incorporating more creativity into a CEO’s schedule demands opening space for it.

Linkner suggests deliberately scheduling “heads-up” time for the creative process. He contrasts the differences between heads-up and heads-down operation:

The challenge in switching between heads-down and heads-up thinking is learning to use the analytical and creative sides of your brain simultaneously. Daniel Pink has suggested that the most successful 21st century ventures will be led by those who combine both modes of thinking, enabling them to spot patterns and trends faster than competitors. The result will be superior products, more relevant services, and higher market share.

The CEO who neglects creative thinking and stays in the comfort zone (solving operational issues and managing finances) falls behind competitors. It takes effort to break out of the zone, and it can require reaching outside the organization.  Successfully implementing the discipline to dream may require creating a network of friends who are regularly tapped for advice and who act as a sounding board. It means joining a group of like-minded CEOs (e.g., Vistage), or leveraging a special board member, or hiring a trusted advisor, or a combination.

Resolve that 2012 is going to be different for your business. Despite a challenging economy, it’s time to take it to the next step. Leave your comfort zone and grow your business by unleashing your own creativity and the creativity of your entire organization, and resolve to do it in a disciplined way.

About Bob Barker
Bob Barker is a trusted advisor to CEOs, helping them identify, define, and execute new growth-accelerating opportunities. He also shares ideas on LinkedIn (robertgbarker), in guest posts on related blogs, and in industry publications. Contact him via email at bob@2020outlook.com.

Comments

5 Responses to “2012 CEO Resolution: Disciplined Dreaming!”
  1. Good article. I was recently speaking with friend who is CEO of a company and his wife is CFO. The company has stalled, is no longer growing and my friend was worried. The wife’s response all fell under austerity measures; cut expenses and tighten belts. I told the husband that the CFO is always suppose to be reigning in the CEO, trying to control spending and keep everyone’s feet on the ground. The CEO’s job is to let plans and schemes soar in the clouds. CFO’s are by requirement, risk averse. You cannot grow and expand without risk. It was bad advice for their marriage but good advice for their company’s future.

  2. Steve Golab says:

    Great post Bob. Reminds me of the power that is possible by choosing a stable Business partner who can translate imagination into getting stuff done and meeting deadlinrs.

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  1. […] to build relationships with groups and individuals that share their passion for helping CEOs achieve their dreams. Like Vistage, they appreciate the power of collaboration to broaden our vision. Rafael Pastor said […]

  2. […] to build relationships with groups and individuals that share their passion for helping CEOs achieve their dreams. Like Vistage, they appreciate the power of collaboration to broaden our vision. Rafael Pastor said […]

  3. […] 1. Take Time for Disciplined Dreaming: If you ignored our sole suggestion for 2012, you can redeem yourself in 2013. It’s tempting to work “heads down” all the time, but “heads up” thinking moves your company toward growth much faster. […]



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