According to Leadership Guru John Kotter, there are four things leaders have to provide:
- Establishing direction
- Aligning people
- Motivating and inspiring
- Producing change through the utilization of the first three
The ability to shift or create context and also to re-contextualize (“draw the larger circle”) is a potent enabler of establishing direction, aligning people, motivating and inspiring in order to produce meaningful change.
Below are some examples from great leaders who were great at re-contextualizing:
Steve Jobs: When Steve Jobs re-assumed control of Apple Computer, he re-focused Apple on more cutting edge work — leading to a powerful new operating system, beautiful and highly functional notebook computers, the iPod and ultimately the iTunes store system.
He accomplished this largely by re- emphasizing the context of “leading through outrageously beautiful and functional design.” The container he created for the engineers, designers and marketing teams was the elegance of design.
This provided a context that informed and guided all work, decisions, investment efforts and team interactions.