Innovating with Meaning: The Power of Focus

So often leaders think that they are communicating a focused message to the members of their team or organization but, in many instances, their message gets lost in the clutter.  Often these leaders move on to the next message before the members of their team/organization fully and commonly understand the first one!

Innovative managers understand that they should first determine the focus of the message that they would like to convey and then spend a lot of time "selling and reselling" (i.e., communicating) the focused message to their team.

In our experience, the most effective leaders are those who can authentically commit and focus their teams/organizations to/on three fundamental strategies, such as:

  • Ensure that the customer is the focal point for the organization [everyone must know and share a common understanding of the customer (consumer/citizen/patient/student–however your customer is defined) and look for ideas to improve the customer experience in a meaningful way]
  • Build their brands (everyone must be looking for ideas to build business offerings that are clearly differentiated in the marketplace and that add value in a meaningful way to their community of stakeholders)
  • Strive to be lean (everyone must be on the lookout for meaningful ways to cut costs and improve work processes)
Are you "Innovating with Meaning" by determining your focus, authentically committing to it, and then dedicating the effort to selling and reselling this focus over and over again until it is commonly understood and accepted?

Blog Co-Authors:

Dr. Alex Pattakos is the author of Prisoners of Our Thoughts ( and Elaine Dundon is author of The Seeds of Innovation (  They are co-authors of an article, "Innovating with Meaning," in Leadership Excellence Magazine (November 2008) and the book, Innovating with Meaning (forthcoming).

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  • John Agno

    How do great leaders communicate? is an important question, especially in times of transition.

    "Jacked Up: The inside story of how Jack Welch talked GE into becoming the world's greatest company" by Bill Lane (McGraw Hill) is a book about what the author and Welch did to make communications better at General Electric (GE).

    What Lane did, and still does, is observe. He can see what works and doesn't work, and spots the elements that make a presentation a triumphant success, and those that spell disaster or even career death.

    Take his advice and you will never make a bad presentation for the rest of your career; and if you are already near or at the top, you'll never tolerate another bad presentation made to you.