Seth Godin on Leadership Initiative

Seth Godin’s most recent book, Poke the Box, released in the wild recently. I finished reading it on my flight back from California, and I’ll share my highlights later this week. In the meantime, I caught up with Seth this weekend, and we discussed the new book. Here’s the interview:

TONY: What’s the big idea behind Poke the Box?

SETH: Initiative is taken, it’s not given, and it’s the scarcest resource in most organizations. Individuals who choose to initiate are priceless.

TONY: Why do you think people are so comfortable waiting for orders?

SETH: Total deniability! If someone else gives the instructions, well, then it can’t be your fault, can it?

TONY: What’s one thing leaders could do differently to get their teams to initiate change?

SETH: This is the hard one, Tony. What leaders have to do is seek out and embrace (and possibly reward) smart failure. If you’re not willing to fail, you have no chance to succeed.

TONY: I’m familiar with organizations that routinely listen to the preferences of their current “customers.” They like to keep things the way they’ve always been. If the current “customers” pay the bills, isn’t it a little dangerous to “poke the box”?

SETH: If you don’t want to grow, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. Unless you’re in the record business, have a Web site, want to get elected, raise more money for your charity, or attract smart talent. In those cases, there’s so much demand for change that if you’re not changing, you’re falling behind.

TONY: How do you discipline your life to model this principle?

SETH: The lizard brain, that voice that tells each of us to cool it, back off, and lie low–that’s my compass. When I hear the lizard squawk, that’s when I know I’m on to something!

We need more people to take initiative in the Church.  

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Tony Morgan
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and