The Leader’s Challenge
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Being a leader within and of an organization has never been more challenging. The pace of change is breathtaking, and it will only accelerate. Today’s leaders are asked to be successful and prepare for tomorrow. They are asked to produce results in the present, while creating a thriving environment that extends into the future, lasting beyond today’s products and services. This is where innovation becomes vital. But how does a leader create an innovative and productive environment?

By definition, innovation requires change. Therefore, the best leaders can constantly change while maintaining and creating outstanding products and services. No small task for anyone. How does a leader bring about change and innovation if change is necessary? In a nutshell, that is the Leader’s Challenge. The Leader’s Challenge is to ensure the organization and the people in it are innovative and productive.

But what skills are necessary to accomplish this? In my experience, two foundational skills are required. Teams must be able to talk about what is often unspoken and have crucial conversations. They also must know how to ensure that change happens successfully by being open to– radical change. Once an organization can have essential conversations and change what must be changed, they are ready to innovate and be productive simultaneously. Most individuals and organizations struggle with both of these required skills. Therefore, they struggle with being both innovative and productive.

Most companies I have worked with are striving to improve these two skills in some form. Often, these skills are related to communication, technical skills enhancement, research and development, Lean Six Sigma, and many other terms. But, at their essence, they involve fostering honest conversations and learning to change habits and activities. The speed at which these activities must occur has changed most over time. Our skills become outdated over time, as do our products and services. Therefore, what makes us successful today becomes a barrier to success in the future. Review the successful companies of 20, 30, or 40 years ago for proof. Many no longer exist or have been transformed into entirely different companies. Long-term success involves innovation and transformation. In a word, change.

The Leader’s Challenge is to bring about change. Have meaningful and crucial conversations. Become an expert, along with your entire team, in routinely changing your habits and activities. These two skills will bring about both innovation and current-day success. It sounds simple – but we all know it is not. It isn’t easy. This is where MACNY comes in. We help companies learn and excel at foundational skills. For more information on how we help organizations, teams, and individuals grow and change, visit