Chuck Swoboda is the Innovator-in-residence at Marquette University, President of Cape Point Advisors, and the retired Chairman and CEO of Cree, Inc. At Cree, Chuck helped lead the company from $6 million in revenue to over $1.6 billion as they started the LED Lighting Revolution that led to the obsolescence of traditional light bulbs. Chuck is a co-inventor on 25 patents covering LED and Lighting related technology. He is the host of the Innovators on Tap podcast and has just released his new book, The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible.
- Leadership is about showing someone why what you want them to do is in their best interests.
- People’s behaviors are a function of their beliefs. If you want to help people, you have to understand the belief that is getting in their way and help them to discover it as well.
- Put yourself in situations where failure or near failure is inevitable to force you to grow.
- Once you have a culture, hire people to fit that culture (e.g. innovation and risk).
- Create the focus necessary for innovation by taking advantage of scenarios that naturally force change.
- Pursuing innovation often means trying for what most others think is impossible.
- When you’re doing something that’s never been done, you can’t know the answer.
- No matter what you do today, it can be done better tomorrow.
- To help your team adopt an innovative mindset, encourage these three things: 1. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty, 2. Learn from your failures, and 3. Promote ownership of things that aren’t fully in people’s control.
- Leadership is not about having all the ideas; it’s about figuring out how to get the best ideas out there and then focusing on them.
QUESTIONS TO INSPIRE US TO ACTION
– What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”—Peter Drucker
- Use three descriptors to finish this sentence: “A leader is…” Genuine, passionate, and committed to doing what’s right.
- What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? Is anyone following me?
- What book would you recommend to leaders? The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
- If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Practice leading (i.e. convince other people to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do on their own).
- As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” “Why not?” “Why?” is helpful to give others a reason to follow you, but “why not?” is about getting people to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do on their own.
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