Rendezvous 2013: Innovative leadership ticket to solid business future

Focusing on the changing technology and keeping up with ways for your team to collaborate are the tickets to innovative leadership.

This is part of a series of stories previewing Rendezvous, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) annual leadership forum, which will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, Calif. This year’s line-up will feature three tracks to help you tackle your business challenges: Innovative Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion and The Consumer Revolution. Register for the event here.

One of the most important things that will determine what companies will rise or fall during the coming years is whether they have innovative leadership.

The evolution of technology and the way business is done to reach and retain customers today is a change akin to the industrial revolution, said Lori Herrera, Outdoor Industry Association’s chief operating officer.

“Innovative leadership speaks to all the varied pieces that it takes to be a dynamic and successful leader in today’s changing business world,” she said. There is “a need to move quickly as a company in a rapidly changing world and align your team and resources as needed in a timely fashion.”

Herrera said there are three top aspects to innovative leadership: understanding the consumer, both present and future; being clear on goals; and aligning resources to execute those goals. Achieving these three facets will be tackled in many OIA Rendezvous sessions, including Tuesday's lunch keynote session withChangeLabs CEO Peter Sheahan.


Companies need to embrace way business is changing both in terms of technology and business practices, Herrera said. The small brick-and-mortar stores of the retail industry as a whole are having growing pains with the advent of online retailers and the change in business climate this has produced.

Sheahan, who runs a consultancy group that addresses large-scale behavioral change projects, said technology shouldn’t be feared.

“What technology does is support the service of our clients,” Sheahan said. “Relationships that you build will continue to support your business. The difference is that relationships can be started and nurtured through technology.”

Social media has also changed how companies connect with and retain customers.

“The social aspect of the decision to buy, how we shop, who we listen to is a subset of technology, which has had a major impact in how brands are positioning themselves in the market and interacting with their customer,” Herrera said.

In turn, the fast pace of technology has led to a need to identify and respond to the quickly changing desires of what customers want. The way to do this, said Rendezvous Speaker Tom Wujec, is to train business teams to collaborate and innovate more effectively. Teams can “learn how to get better results by clarifying ideas with images, diagrams and visualizations,” said Wujec, who will be Wednesday's closing keynote speaker. He will talk about how having innovative practices at all stages will lead to more successful services, processes and products.

“The ability to drive innovative leadership,” Herrera said, “will be the difference between the winners and losers,” in the future.

Click here for a full list of speakers at OIA Rendezvous.



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