What Dick Fosbury Taught Me About Innovation and Change

Jun 26, 2021 2 min read
What Dick Fosbury Taught Me About Innovation and Change

Dick Fosbury dared to change the rules. What he did was a game-changer for athletics. But change leaders can learn much from his example.

When you believe in something that’s when it’s time to really to go for it. – Dick Fosbury

In this video, Dick Fosbury explains what motivated him to change the rules and to innovate and change.

Someone Must Dare to Change the Rules

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Innovation is not thinking different. It is doing something different. In times of change, leaders make one of three choices. They:

  1. oppose change and become part of the problem,
  2. cope with change, making adjustments to deal with the change whilst unwittingly supporting those who oppose it, or
  3. respond to change and take response-ability.

Those who oppose change or attempt to cope with it are reactive and self-centred. Their view of the world is one-dimensional. They resist or find workarounds because they think change is the problem.

From their standpoint, it’s a case of “us versus them” or “they are the problem”.

Innovation and change isn’t present.

Innovation and change only occurs when we have ownership and intent. It happens when we learn to see problems through the eyes of others.

In understanding and identifying with the interests and needs of others, we acknowledge and respond to their world-view. We learn to see the same situation from a different perspective.

What’s more, responsive leaders are open to problems and to people’s concerns, and organize their actions based on other considerations. They keep an eye on the aims of the intended change.

This is innovation and change in practice.

It is daring to change the rules! It is breaking from the norm and current conditions. That’s what Dick Fosbury did. He dared to reach new heights.

Innovation and change is about believing in what is possible. It is relating to change in a new way by doing what is needed to bring us closer to what we want rather than what is impossible.

I believe leadership and innovation is about bringing new realities into existence.


What does innovation and change mean to you? You are welcome to share your experience in the comments.

Image: "2014 Indoor Track - Bishop Loughlin Games" by Steven Pisano, used under CC BY 2.0.

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