Why Leaders Need to Rock the Boat

Most of us have been trained (if not brainwashed) to value compliance over innovation.

There is a false notion that says that we will be rewarded within an organization or company for not “rocking the boat” too much. Stay quiet, do your work, keep the top-level leaders happy, and don’t complain. Be thankful that you have a job, right?

While many organizations will never verbally articulate these thoughts in such a straightforward manner, their internal cultures undeniably communicate them clearly on a daily basis.

If you find yourself in this kind of environment, you have some choices to make.

You can either choose to live in compliance (which may never lead to the kind of change you hope to see in your organization) or take courage through acts of innovation (which may actually change your organization and even your life).

I used to think years ago that the latter choice was far more risky (i.e., acting in courage), but I am now convinced that the former is actually the one that undercuts your hope for change. Here’s why:

Compliance by definition works away from innovation.

Its priorities tend to lean more heavily towards control, seniority, and the way it’s always been done. Expecting change while being compliant (in a general sense) is irrational. You may (and will) end up in places of deep frustration. Living this way will suck the life out of your soul.

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Charles Lee
Charles is the CEO & Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation, a brand innovation company that specializes in helping businesses & organizations build remarkable brands via innovative business design, organizational change architecture, brand integration, design, web, and marketing services. He is also the author of Good Idea. Now What?: How to Move Ideas to Execution, a practical book designed to help people move ideas to implementation. Charles is regularly invited to speak to leading companies and organizations on topics such as creativity, innovation, idea-making, and branding. Executive leaders from brands including Wells Fargo, Toyota, The White House, Catalyst, William Morris Endeavor, mun2, Council of Urban Professionals, Chick-fil-A, and many others have benefited from having Charles present at their key events.