“We don’t often think of leaders as artisans, but like good craftspeople, good leaders go about their work thoughtfully and purposefully.” It’s an insightful comparison gleaned from Hal Gregersen’s experiences as a leadership advisor and as the mentee of a master craftsman, National Geographic photographer Sam Abell.
In his latest Harvard Business Review article, Gregersen shares Abell’s best advice and applies it to today’s best leaders: “compose and wait.” In photography, establish how you want the background to appear and, if you’ve chosen your spot well, the dynamic element you need to complete the image will eventually enter the frame.
Pixar’s Ed Catmull and Proctor & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley exemplify this “back-to-front” mantra, says Gregersen, a global authority on building innovative leaders and companies. They frame the background environments that will allow creativity and innovation to flourish and be heard – largely by quieting their own impulses to be hard-charging, full of answers and quick to intervene – and then they wait.
“Most important, when that compelling element does cross their line of sight, they will see it for what it is: a flash of brilliance that deserves to be captured, and that will justify all the background work that gave it a proper setting.”
Read Gregersen’s article and consider how to make “compose and wait” your leadership habit. Can you “set the stage” for success?