Innovation requires Secure Base Leadership

child-2956973__340“Life is best organized as a series of daring adventures from a secure base” – John Bowlby

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending “High Performance Leadership” at IMD Business School in Geneva, Switzerland. Far and wide this training was one of the most impactful of my life and my career; helping me to better understand who I am, how I lead and most importantly how I can lead more effectively in the future. Let me share one of those key learnings and how it applies to innovation.

One of the fundamental constructs of the leadership teachings is the importance of a “Secure Base”. In the words of George Kohlrieser, Professor at IMD,  a secure base is defined as follows –

a person, place, goal, or object that provides a sense of protection, safety, and caring and offers a source of inspiration and energy to explore, take risks, and seek challenge”

As companies continue to accelerate innovation they are in essence accelerating their rate of change. While many believe that as a species we naturally resist change, in fact, it is the “fear of pain associated with change” that holds us back. Good leaders act as secure base to their teams and those around them; showing empathy, taking the time to understand the “pain of change”. This bond (CARING) provides a foundation on which the leader can talk to benefits of the change and the necessity of it for the individual (DARING).

While we tend to focus a ton of time searching for the next big “technology” that will drive innovation we neglect to focus on developing leaders that can drive change through secure base leadership.

Over the last few weeks I have taken a lot of time to reflect on the secure bases that have helped me in my life. It is amazing to think about those who have impacted your life in extraordinary ways through caring and daring. I have also formally committed to being strong secure base for others in both my business life and professional life. Ild suggest you take a closer look at some of these concepts in George’s latest book “Care to Dare” – Unleashing Astonishing Potential through Secure Base Leadership.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s