Innovation guru Hal Gregersen has interviewed more than 200 CEOs across industries and from around the world. His discovery? A parallel crucial to reimagining business: Many of the world’s leaders exist in silk-lined cocoons, or what Gregersen calls the “CEO bubble”, shielded by fellow executives from information that might challenge assumptions or reveal looming threats or opportunities. Breaking the bubble is critical to your company’s success.
“Be uncomfortable,” Gregersen advises CEOs. As he writes in the forthcoming Thinkers50 publication, “Dear CEO: 50 Personal Letters from the World’s Leading Business Thinkers” (Bloomsbury Business, October 2017), “Resolve right now to be less right, less vocal and less comfortable.”
Ranked by Thinkers50 as one of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Gregersen points to several role models, executives like Elon Musk (Tesla), Walt Bettinger (Charles Schwab) and Fadi Ghandour (Aramex), who work hard to break down boundaries, and aren’t afraid to venture away from the status quo and, in the process, discover new questions that fuel important insights.
“The CEO’s dilemma is really every leader’s dilemma,” explained Gregersen in a recent HBR article. “Change your habits now” and learn how to use questions, not answers, to reframe problems, eliminate false assumptions and reveal valuable paths to effective innovation.