Riding the waves

Sundays are fun days for me. If I don’t have a deadline, I can spend the entire day worshipping at the shrine of the two newspapers—the sainted New York Times and Washington Post. The dead tree versions. Not digital.

Today was one of those days. And one of the most interesting articles I came across was in the NYT Business Section, specifically “Corner Office,” which interviews business leaders (some names you may recognize, others not) and asks them about their earliest influences, early leadership lessons, what they’re looking for when they hire and what they tell recent college grads. They are all uniformly enlightening.

Today’s piece profiled Dion Weisler, Chief Executive, HP, Inc. And he mentioned a management technique that he finds especially useful: the three waves of innovation. It’s based on surfing (Weisler grew up in Australia).  The first wave is the one you’re currently on, say, your core business or life's journey. The second is the waves that are coming—which do you choose. That usually has to do with growth. And the third is “what all great surfers do…go home and pull the weather reports and figure out when the next big one is coming.” In other words, predicting trends that you can get a jump on. Or as he calls it “pure invention and category creation.”

In a sense, we’re all surfers. The first wave is our every day life and that can be challenging enough. The waves that are coming are your dreams and goals. Which offers the greatest personal, professional, psychic growth? And then, the third wave…reinvention. If you could ride the magic surfboard, how would you steer it and leverage the energy of the wave beneath you? How can you create the life you want or don’t even know you want yet? 

I am forever indebted to Dion Weisler for this powerful metaphor. I hope you are too. Tell us here how you plan to channel the waves in your life so you can become your most innovative { self }.