What is it?

A catalyst is someone who gets things going.  My most influential management book is The Catalyst:  How You Can Become an Extraordinary Growth Leader by  Jeanne Liedtka, Robert Rosen, and Robert Wiltbank.

 Amazon says

“This book will help every executive–especially those middle managers caught in the middle, between bureaucratic structures and the need for profitability–deliver the organic growth that is demanded of them. It also will help their bosses–the C-Suite executives–unleash the corporate creativity lying dormant with the organization.”

What I loved

The concept of a “learning launch.”  The way to be innovative and break out of gridlock is to just get started and adjust as you go.

Key takeaways

  • Small is beautiful.  Be a leader who develops, validates, and executes new ideas simultaneously.
  • Don’t ask for permission.  If you get started small, you will have it figured out by the time people see you are up to something.
  • What’s working now?  Start with what you’ve got.  Take it and replicate.
  • Manage affordable losses.If the baby is ugly, admit it.  Move on.
  • The key to change is to learn and adjust as you go.
  • Growth comes from dealing with uncertainty

Best quote

Pragmatic Idealism is not for the faint of heart.

Who wants it?

  • Anyone who wants to get things done, but is thwarted by bureaucratic roadblocks.
  • Managers who want to become more entrepreneurial.
  • Leaders who need to make the most of what they’ve got.

How my coach might use this

Questions for a leader who has a goal to implement a new program:

  • What is something small you can do to get started?
  • Is there something that is working well that can be expanded?
  • You tried something new last week – how did it go?  What adjustments might be appropriate?
  • Are there pragmatic considerations that would help ground your new idea?
  • How would an entrepreneurial mindset fit into your approach?