Author: CB Bowman, MBA, CMC, MCEC

CB Bowman is a Certified Master Coach and the founder of the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches. She specializes in executive coaching, human capital management, and career management. Bowman’s hallmark is her “ability to creatively cut through clutter quickly and help you reach your goals.” She is certified in 360-degree leadership assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Campbell and other career and personality assessment tools. Bowman is uniquely qualified to provide counseling management in bereavement issues related to professional crisis, workplace trauma, downsizing, and mergers and acquisitions. In academe, Ms. Bowman is an instructor at Rutgers University’s Center for Management Development, where she teaches The Challenge of Leadership and Implementing Organizational Change, et. al. She has also delivered programs on Leadership for Rutgers in its Advanced Academy for Minority Business Enterprises. Formerly adjunct professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at Mercy College, she has also served as adjunct professor of Marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Ms. Bowman has been quoted on the Internet and in the media, including television interviews on Good Day, New York and in The Wall Street Journal and Female Executive. Her articles have appeared in the National Business Employment Weekly, Black Enterprise and The Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Times. Certified to serve on public and advisory boards, CB has sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE), and also served as its North East Regional Vice President; and the Center for Preventive Psychological Care. In 2002, she was appointed by the Mayor of North Plainfield, New Jersey to serve on the town’s Historic Commission, which she chaired for four years. Bowman holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and fine arts from the New School for Social Research in New York, and Parsons School of Design. She earned the Master of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in marketing, from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, and was also a member of its Board of Directors. She has also earned a Certificate in Human Resource Management from New York University.

The Innovators Paradox and the Power of Business Feel

by Dr. Steven Segal

The demands of the quarterly cycle of business push leaders to operate in the here and now of the short term. However, innovation demands being able to take a long-term view. Innovators have to be able to see beyond the current horizon to innovate. We need to have the resilience to act beyond immediate gratification to create new products, services and markets.

Those who remain stuck in actuality do not get the chance to innovate. And those who are fixated in the realm of possibility become dreamers. Effective leaders in a world of perpetual change require the willingness to dance between the short term of actuality and the long term of possibility.

To lead in between the demands of actuality and innovation for possibility requires a mindset that is simultaneously pragmatic and romantic. Steve Jobs is a perfect icon of someone who was both grounded in the here and now of pragmatism and who simultaneously was able to imagine a world beyond the here and now. He is not alone in being both pragmatic and romantic at the same time. Any innovator or entrepreneurial leader is capable of living in the worlds of actuality and possibility. In the 1980’s Jack Welch was exemplary; so too was Andy Grove of Intel as were so many of the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley.

What enabled them to be simultaneously attuned to the here and now of business and to creating new business worlds beyond the here and now? It certainly was not their ability to follow rules of procedure correctly. As Jack Welch always said, business is more than the rules. It is smell, feel and touch. This does not mean he or any of the others abandoned the rules, but they were able to situate the rules in a broader context of a business feel or feel for the business.

Business feel is not something that is usually taught to aspiring senior managers at business schools. On the contrary, they are taught that success in business emerges through adhering to the ostensible rules of the hard sciences. Yet, as Andy Grove once said, when a business gets into serious trouble it is important for leaders to be able to listen to their emotions. Emotions are not just irrational feelings to be dismissed. There are vital warnings and clues that are contained in emotions.

Our first response to danger, for example, is a sense of fear or worry. When something goes wrong or we feel that it is not quite right, we tend to worry. Worry tells us a lot about a situation. It keeps us alert to present dangers and to new opportunities. Good doctors and nurses are good precisely because they learn to listen to their worry. In business, Lou Gerstner once said, “Keep the crisis alive,” in enabling fundamental change in business.

Although it may sound strange to say, our emotions allow us to see possibilities and commit to courses of action. If we are willing to listen to them, they can ground us in the here and now and open up entrepreneurial opportunities. So many great leaders in our world have processed information, not only through the mind, but through emotions. In the world of science Einstein is a perfect example of someone whose innovative thinking emerged out of his power of wonder.

We live in a business world that has all but chocked our capacity for business feel. The price that we pay for this is that we do not see new possibilities and present dangers even when they are staring us in the face. Our challenge today is to develop our business feel. Are you ready to do so?