Building a culture of innovation – Part 3

Resilience and handling pushback

Resilience and Handling Pushback - Perspectives on Leadership and Innovation

Tom Pedersen and Steve Monaghan explore the challenge of engaging with skeptical stakeholders in an organizational context. Steve shares his personal experience of facing initial resistance and how he turned it into motivation. Tom highlights the importance of resilience and leading by getting out of the way. They discuss the qualities of humility, grit, and integrity as essential for success, and emphasize the significance of these values in achieving positive outcomes, even in challenging circumstances. This conversation offers valuable insights into handling resistance and inspiring progress within an organization.

Key Takeaways

  1. It is important to use feedback as motivation rather than being deterred.
  2. Resilience is important for overcoming obstacles and maintaining forward momentum.
  3. Optimistic and visionary leadership are important to inspire and motivate others during difficult times.
  4. Humility, grit, and integrity are essential for success and achieving positive outcomes.
  5. Additionally, these qualities are important in navigating skepticism, driving progress, and upholding ethical standards within an organization.

The Conversation

Question: When you walked into an organization and started engaging with the different stakeholders, what do you do when you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall? You’re not getting the buy in. They’re looking at you and saying, “Why should I trust you? What are you going to do if we fail?” How do you handle that?

Steve: That’s a great question. And that was exactly how I started the DBS. My very first presentation resulted in quite a lot of very loud engagement, and I thought that it was my shortest job ever.

But what it did to me was it just made me angry—angry in a positive way. So what I did is I actually went and brought in a demo, a prototype that I’d worked with someone offline to go and make, and I just put it in the CEO’s hands.

I remember exactly what he said. He said, “Now I see. I get it.” Because you have to be pushed and respond the right way. If you respond and walk away; well quitters never win. You have to take the feedback. You have to reflect on it and you have to find a way. And for me it was a motivation, not something that sent me in the other direction. And I think that you see that in anyone, a sportsman that’s down and having a bad time. It’s the fight back. You’ve got to have that Rocky 3, Rocky 4 approach. You’ve just got to fight back, and whenever I get down today, I literally play that music in my head. How am I going to fight through this?

Tom: So that talks to this key competence of resilience. How do you fall down and get back up?

How do you learn from that in a way that propels and motivates you, optimistically, forward. And that’s hard to do in a lot of organizational contexts, especially when it’s the boss that sometimes doesn’t realize that some of the behaviors are disabling, preventing people from going forward.

I’ve also been challenged in a lot of organizational contexts that cause people to question, “Why am I here? Why do I keep going?”

When I feel down and discouraged, how do I take others along with me when I know others want to follow somebody who’s more optimistic, who’s more visionary who’s going to help chart a path forward?

I think one of the key leadership competencies in innovative organizations is developing your muscle of resilience. How do you do it in a way that really keeps you going in a positive, forward-focused direction?

Steve: If I could just add one thing to that. I invest in a bunch of companies and the three values I look for are

  • Humility. If you’re not humble, you can’t learn.
  • Grit. Because those downtimes are always going to be there. How are you persistent and resilient, and how do you how do you fight back?
  • Integrity. Because without that, you don’t have a foundation.

And you know those three things, and it works, I haven’t had one technically go out with no return—out of 16. so the stats, even in this terrible market are a testament that when you have a focus on people with that capability, I think you can achieve a lot.

About the podcast

“Perspectives on Leadership and Innovation” is a podcast hosted by Tom Pedersen, Founder and CEO of BentoBox Innovation.

With special guest Steve Monaghan, General Partner, KK FinMirai.