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Being an Accelerator Leadership Style Readies Organizations for Innovation

07 Oct 15
Michelle Cubas
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Using Karin Hurt’s premise of 7 Roles of an Exceptional Leader, I see myself as an “Accelerator.” You can review the others here.
 Race Car
What is an Accelerator?
This leadership style is off script . . . intentionally, rather than a “seat-of-the-pants” approach. The Accelerator clearly puts forth ideas to stimulate the team but doesn’t give the “answers.” The team matures when it provides its own content after the leader sets the stage.
Daniel Pink is a current trend disrupter and contrarian who fits this description, also—I am a contrarian, who removes a script and expands the creative space for my clients.
Terrie St. Marie (Starbucker)  has a post describing the difference between a boss and a leader. It supports the Accelerator model as well.
Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, researched companies and their leaders to find the “secret sauce” of their greatness.
The company, USAA, focused primarily on military service members, is world class from hiring through retirement. They are a serious business model for any company. Part of the success formula is the upfront investment in personnel and superb training. The environment is conducive to exceptional service.
Here are my take-away elements to use from the Accelerator model:
  • This type of style takes calculated risks.
  • The Accelerator provides clarity for the project.
  • The Accelerator relies on intuition for validation.
  • The Accelerator’s self-confidence is contagious to the team members.
  • The Accelerator is directed toward progress rather than holding power. Interestingly, they are easier to follow because of this emphasis.

A benefit to workers immersed in an Accelerator climate is the boundless energy that is created. It is the fertile seedbed that innovation seeks. For example, taking calculated risks creates excitement without being reckless.

It is a true talent to transmit and guide an audience through and to an idea or conclusion. There is decisiveness and clarity so that team members understand what is expected and can produce a successful outcome; it is not an exercise in futility, leaving people shake their heads about, “Why are we doing this?”

Trusting one’s intuition informs perception to see different perspectives. The self-confidence, not hubris, of an Accelerator is contagious and inspiring so people want to rise to a similar level within themselves.

The humility and strength that emanates from an Accelerator leader, holds for a “good of the house” attitude rather than self-aggrandizement. They use the the pronoun, we, frequently, which assures the listeners they are not alone and the leader is in the boat with them.

There is inclusiveness and belonging baked into the relationships of the leader and the team. The Accelerator invites ideas and relieves him or herself of the burden of knowing all the answers. In such an environment, ideas flow and appear quicker and continue to generate a positive energy to achieve the vision set forth by the leader and the team. -MC

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