top of page

Every Renaissance has its Medici

For several weeks, I have talked with many people about The Intelligence Tsunami , one of the biggest wealth-creating and most disruptive transformations in human history that is impacting everyone and every organization, especially knowledge workers.

The book tells stories of organizations that faced earlier transformational change. Some did nothing and got washed away. Some bought into the hype, blowing through lots of resources only to flame out.

What the transformational change is and what to do about it are ambiguous. No one is sure who the winners will be. Uncertainty creates anxiety and even fear. There is a clear reason why all the organizations I worked with that created enormous new value succeeded.

Every Renaissance has its Medici, a patron with the gravitas and access to resources to organize a team of creative people to identify ways to become significantly more productive or create enormous new value. Who is that patron in your organization?

These patrons follow similar universal leadership principles to inspire their teams to think creatively about opportunities while being accountable for results.

These principles are based on human nature and build on the work of innovation thought leaders including Clayton Christensen, Geoffrey Moore, Steve Blank, and others.

● Identify the essential mission,

● Attract and retain talented, creative individuals committed to the mission,

● Empower the team with the resources needed to succeed,

● Ensure the team is accountable for clear, measurable milestones, and

● Let go so the talented team can excel in ways only they can.

I've participated on teams that did this in for-profit companies, not-for-profit organizations, academic centers, and government agencies.

As Clemson President, Jim Barker convened a meeting of Greenville community leaders, asking the provocative question, "If Clemson were in Greenville, what would we do differently?" The answer was the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Leadership. But at the beginning, no one saw that coming. The team thought big, acted small, and iterated our way there.

Once, Greenville had a small craft arts festival. Henry Horowitz led the board to cancel the old festival one year to plan for a new arts festival that could make Greenville distinctive. Few knew then that Artishpere would emerge, which USA Today now says is the best arts festival in the United States. Like Jim, Henry had a big vision and a talented team. He worked hard to attract the needed resources and made sure everyone knew how success was measured. Then, he allowed the team to create what only they could.

As Chairman of the Board, I was the patron of Earth Fare. Roger Derrough had opened one organic grocery store in Asheville, NC, that he wanted to grow into a chain. I helped pull together a Board of Directors with deep food experience and recruit a Chief Executive Officer who had run an eighteen-store grocery chain. I called meetings of angel investors who invested in three rounds. Early on, as we learned how to open new stores, we faced lots of adversity. Eventually, we got our flywheel spinning and grew into the country's largest regional organic grocery store chain.

Enjoy this short video describing The Intelligence Tsunami and what to do about it.

Let's talk.

Let's find your Medici to inspire your team and your organization to excel.

John Warner


The best way to predict your future is to create it.

28 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page