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Innovation's Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail

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  • Posted November 19, 2013

    Innovation.  It's what creates repeatedly successful leaders.  Y

    Innovation.  It's what creates repeatedly successful leaders.  You know the one's I'm talking about.  The leader who has success again and again and again.

    What is it that sets that kind of leader apart from the ones who have one good idea, or maybe two?


    And when you understand it, you have the potential to become a serial innovator.  But gaining an understanding isn't as common as you'd think.

    Innovation's Dirty Little Secret is Larry Osborne's newest book, digging deep into the intricacies of innovation, helping us understand it better.  From the very beginning, Osborne sets up up to gain insights into the concept of innovation that most leaders never grasp.  To start off, the first four chapters deal with creating an exit strategy.

    Wait.  What?

    An exit strategy may be the most important part of understanding how serial innovators succeed continually.  Knowing when something isn't working, and having the ability and the courage to abandon it when it isn't working is a key element to creating repeat successes.  Once you have an exit strategy in place, you are free to lead without fear, knowing that if something doesn't work, you can redirect your focus easily.

    With that in place, igniting innovation, and creating an atmosphere where it accelerates is relatively easy.  It still requires effort and work to keep things flowing, but it's much easier to come up with great ideas when you accept that many of the ideas you have aren't the great ones.  You can be more relaxed, knowing that you can let go of mediocrity and focus on greatness.

    Osborne directs his attention next to some of the things that sabotage innovation, and how to regain momentum when you stumble.  And finally, to wrap things up, he spends a couple of chapters discussing the idea of vision, and how it relates to mission and innovation.  These are perhaps the most important chapters in the book, and are regrettably short.

    Although the idea of innovation is not a concrete concept, and is instead more abstract in nature, Larry Osborne has helped his readers to understand the idea more fully.  Easy to read and full of excellent insights, Innovation's Dirty Little Secret is a book that will seriously help you reach the next level in successful leadership.Disclosure of Material Connection: 

    I received this book free from Cross Focused Media as part of their Cross Focused Reviews blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    This book provides some good common sense advice for leaders in

    This book provides some good common sense advice for leaders in the corporate and church world. Thus, pastors can learn from this book. But there is a caveat. I write this review as one who served as a former military officer and currently serving as pastor. At times I am uncomfortable with some of the language that is used because it can draw attention away from the true nature of the Church.

    The good sections in this book regard the “business” end of leading in the church. Thus, most of the ideas are corporate oriented, very practical and useful. From that perspective, Chapter “Have and Exit Strategy” and “Why Vision Matters” are most useful for church leaders. Chapter questions focus the reader on application.

    Observing pastors for many years, I find that when we plan something, it is obviously the best, maybe “God’s will.” But such presumption can not only hinder current plans for the church, it can blind us to faulty logic and dead ends. 

    “Have an Exit Strategy” offers a planning alternative to avoid dead ends and cramping future plans in church activity. The best advice is the subsection: “Never Make a Change When You Can Conduct an Experiment.” As the author notes, “Unfortunately, this is a hard concept for many leaders and organizations to grasp” (p. 35).

    Another helpful insight comes in the “Igniting Innovation” section, namely the difference between artistic and organizational innovation. “The unfortunate byproduct is confusion: it encourages leaders and organizations to take risks and behave in ways that are perfectly appropriate for artists, but foolhardy for leaders of organizations” (p. 44). Thus, something looks flashy, innovative, challenging may not be the solution for the pastor, church leaders. Good advice for church leaders.

    Part 4 (“Sabotaging Innovation”) in the book shows the negative aspects of leadership pitfalls and failure. Sometimes in churches we are blind to the destructive effects of leadership failures. One of the weaknesses of the chapter is that the focus is on failure, but within the Church, there is another critical factor: forgiveness and restoration. This does not excuse or worse encourage leadership failures, but it is the heart of what the Church is. Interestingly in contrast the Part on Breakout Decisions highlights that the “two new keys to reaching the current culture: authenticity and compassion” (p. 125). 

    The “Champion” mentality seems to contradict the earlier advice: avoid the “curse of hype” (pp. 90ff.). As for pastors serving congregations, this book leaves a gap in leadership. Hence my recommendation is a qualified good read. Because… the business side of decision making (even mission statements and vision statements) consumes the the reader’s attention. Much good insights for leaders. So, for the reader, enjoy, learn, but keep that secondary to that which is most important.

    Thanks to Zondervan for a preview copy for an unbiased review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    In his book, ¿Innovation¿s Dirty Little Secret,¿ Larry Osborne i

    In his book, “Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret,” Larry Osborne is hard hitting and heart-hitting. This was the first business book that I have read that deals with leadership including church leadership and innovation. So, in fact, it was a blessing to me. I had nothing to compare it with but it really got me to think more about organizational innovation including my own church home in Atlanta.

    Mr. Osborne’s message is helpful to put into perspective why certain innovators succeed and why others fail. A full chapter on “Why Mission Statements Matter” really took me to another level in my quest for understanding mission statement purpose and vision. Mr. Osborne certainly has covered what to do when you hit the wall as a leader. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to know the other side of what others say about the subject of innovation. And, in particular, to pastors and church leaders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    I am raising and educating my children, and that often requires

    I am raising and educating my children, and that often requires a certain level of innovation: if something’s not working, I’ve got to change it. Learning to innovate, to think outside the box, is an important skill for homeschooling moms.

    However, there is one fact about innovation that the success gurus never mention: most innovation leads to failure. Larry Osborn, a very innovative church leader, knows this and has written Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail to explain how to increase your chances for successful innovation. ...For business, non-profits, and even church and family life, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret has many helpful ideas about people and change. However, even though the author is a pastor, I cannot recommend his attitude for churches and families. Read my complete review at Tea Time with Annie Kate

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Some books have it, and this is one.  "Innovation's Dirty L

    Some books have it, and this is one.  "Innovation's Dirty Little Secret" is replete with leadership insight and a good mix of wit.  I was first introduced to Larry Osborne through the book Sticky Teams (another one I highly recommend), and "Innovation" is an excellent addition to leaders intent on expanding their insight.

    What makes successful innovation elusive is multifaceted.  Some people are against innovation.  Some kill it inadvertently.  Some chase away natural-born innovators to their own detriment.  But most importantly, innovations sometimes fail.  Larry describes these behaviors and facts, and provides a way out.  He demonstrates through well-told stories, common sense, and the wisdom of others that innovation and innovators can be tapped to empower organizations.

    Not all great leaders are innovators, but they know how to mobilize these gifted people.  In the words of Osborne, they use their "position, power, and influence" to catalyze the creative, and this helps to develop an environment of growth and health.  Leaders need to understand who innovators are and what they do to comprehend how their presence causes businesses and churches to flourish.  This is just fascinating stuff.

    Like most of the books that I value and return to (I have already returned to various sections of this book several times), this one has phrases and practices you can implement today to help move your organization to either the next level or to better health.  He lists questions you need to be asking your leaders and priorities and practices you need to adopt.

    If you lead an organization and are needing help in getting unstuck, this book should be in your hands.  5 out of 5 stars.

    I received "Innovation's Dirty Little Secret" in exchange for a review.  I was not required to give a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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