Lake Forest Leadership Model: Committing to Everyday Innovation

Barbara Siegel

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The most innovative leaders have a distinct edge. They are not afraid to try new things and move ideas from pipe dream to trial phase. They are not satisfied with the status quo and are willing to take risks. Leading innovation is not easy. At Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM), we cultivate leaders who develop and inspire innovative ideas by threading the skills and tools necessary throughout graduate degree programs and Corporate Learning Solutions.

People naturally resist change and some seemingly amazing ideas never reach the light of day. Even if you are highly creative, you need more than just your creativity to gain buy-in for new ideas. You need turn around a culture and commit to innovation on a daily basis.

In the LFGSM Leadership Model, we believe great leaders must find ways to promote innovation, both large and small:

  • Dream big and take action. Leaders do more than connect the dots or come up with big ideas. They make plans to experiment, execute, and inspire others to join in.
  • Model creativity. Others can look to them to make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts and industries. They may create huge, game-changing products that disrupt industries, or smaller innovations to internal processes or services that end up having a major impact on their organization’s bottom line.
  • Question assumptions. They do not accept answers like, “This is how things have always been done.” They constantly strive for improvement.
  • Encourage others to innovate. They are not afraid to make mistakes and celebrate creativity in others. They set up concrete support within the organization to build a culture where everyone is encouraged to innovate.
  • Be comfortable with taking risk. Jeff Anderson, the President and CEO of LFGSM, has seen careers propelled forward when people take risks, whether it is proposing a new product or simply highlighting a problem that people haven’t been willing to talk about before.
  • Remain strategic. Even though they often take risks, innovative leaders stay focused on activities that have a positive impact on corporate strategy and goals. Innovation is counterproductive when it takes a company completely off track. However, as LFGSM Business Leader Faculty® and Chief Strategy Officer, Avia, Strategy Designer, Business Models, Inc. Leslie Wainwright, Ph.D. advises: “Don’t let the love of your legacy business get in the way of trying to do new things.”

Although the ability to innovate seems like an innate quality – either you are creative or you are not – the opposite is true. The majority of our creative skills come from practice and experience.

If you are looking to become a more innovative leader, Crain’s ExecEdge is the perfect place to hone your skills. This six-month program, presented by LFGSM and Crain’s Chicago Business, is designed to help middle- and senior-level leaders gain the edge for executive level positions through personal assessments, coaching, and working with top business and civic leaders.

Innovation is also woven throughout the curriculum of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management’s MBA program and the leadership development programs offered through our Corporate Learning Solutions. Learn more about yourself, and gain first-hand knowledge from experienced Business Leader Faculty® in all of our programs. Challenge yourself to be an innovative leader. You might inspire yourself – and others – to propel your business forward.


Barb Siegel Senior Director Marketing, LFGSMBarb Siegel is the Senior Director of Marketing at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Barb is a strategic marketing professional with a proven track record of driving profitable top-line growth. She has worked in diverse environments including consumer package goods, pharmaceuticals, image-oriented products and not-for-profit higher education. In addition to leading the Marketing Department, Barb is a member of the School’s Leadership Team. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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