Inspired Leaders Inspire Themselves First
One of my monthly rituals is to grab a copy of Fast Company magazine, find a cozy, quiet spot to read and dive into it.
The magazine is one of my engines of inspiration-I love the writing and diversity of thought. So, when I saw that the Fast Company Innovation Festival (FCNY) was taking place in New York with the theme Leading with Optimism, I knew I had to be there.
I signed up for the festival’s second of four days, with workshops and speakers that sparked infinite new ideas for myself as a leader, my team and our clients.
The Power of Rituals & Leading with Boldness
The first session was hosted at the offices of SYPartners, a company dedicated to the human side of transformation and who we find exceptionally inspiring. SYPartners is all about digital transformation, the importance for companies to be “digitally ready” in the face of rapid innovation and technological change. They posited that as organizations are re-wiring all their functions to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, we can also thoughtfully redesign the way our people act through rethinking individual, team and company rituals. The emphasis on rituals resonated with me because at InspireCorps, we believe that creating an inspired performance culture begins with a deliberate inspiration practice- creating new behaviors and rituals that will translate into higher levels of innovation, creativity, drive and performance.
After leaving the awesomeness that is the SYPartners offices, I headed uptown to see Andy Cohen and Cecile Richards’ Activism, Pop Culture and Why Unapologetic Boldness is the Only Way Forward. Cecile’s discussion, in particular, was very inspiring to me; I admire her fierce, feminine style and her work is an admirable example of courageous and powerful leadership.
My final session of the day was with Ayse Birsel, co-founder of Birsel +Seck, a world-renowned designer whose making a serious impact: Fast Company named as one of the world’s most creative people and she made Thinkers50 Radar List of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of organizations. Her session, Design the Life/Work You Love, challenged us to apply her unique design process as a way to craft our lives and work around what matters most, the things we cannot change and the many opportunities available to us. As someone who has never thought of herself as particularly creative or innovative, I found her process fun and playful, and was reminded of how important these two elements are in both our lives and work. What was most exciting was how Ayse framed inspiration as the cornerstone of her process and the “solution” to driving creativity; this was further evidence to me of just how important inspiration is to the process of design, creation and innovation.
We know that a leader’s first job is to inspire themselves- the Innovation Festival was one small way I was able to do that and left me eager for more.