What do [CEOs] do that steers innovation in their companies? Are they the sole drivers of innovation leadership? And is there a direct link between the innovation capability of a firm and the charisma of its leader? (Bel 2010: 47)

As firms seek to gain a key advantage in the market they operate in and actively seek out opportunities to undercut the competition more emphasis is being given to innovation. Innovation is what keeps a firm ahead of the game and the force that drives the firm forward.

Bel (2010) states that innovative leadership is concerned with a variety of different roles and skills, across different levels of an organisation. It is however an innovative CEO that ensures that creative and innovative new members of staff are hired and taken advantage of in a way that maximises the benefits for the firm. As stated by Bel in 2010, CEOs of firms have the opportunity to identify talent and develop it accordingly. Deschamps (2005) recognised that one of the hardest decisions faced by CEOs is to identify the correct manager that will be capable of leading a potentially massive drive towards innovation. Heim, Chapman & Lashutka, (2003) explained that leadership is all about doing right things by determining the right course of action.

Exxon-Mobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, could be an excellent example of an innovative leader found in the Oil and gas industry. He strongly supports the idea that if communication and cooperation exists within top managers and employees then this could boost innovation in a company. The rationale behind this is that by listening to other peoples (employees in this case) ideas with combination of CEO’s knowledge and experience in the industry there is a possibility of coming up with greater ideas, than a person alone can do. Rex Tillerson, fully supports the strategy of Exxon-Mobil which is mainly focused on innovation through communication and motivation of employees (Theeagleonline, 2009).

The problem of many innovative leaders is that they don’t see the reason in teaching their innovating skills to other people and prefer to take an approach of “Why delegate innovating to someone who’s not that good at it?” (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012). This may lead to a large barrier being built which prevents long lasting innovation within the organisation (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012). This goes to prove that having an innovative leader is “necessary but not sufficient” in sustaining a long lasting innovation premium (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012).

Claudi Santiago, is a charismatic and transformational leader. He is the CEO in General Electric Oil and Gas and he greatly supports the idea that for a leader to be successful he or she must be able to think outside the box and beyond standard knowledge. Even though Claudi Santiago idea involves a degree of risk, sometimes it worth to take some risks in order to succeed. Therefore, Santiago’s strategy as a leader is based on the saying of “high risk, high profits”. By thinking outside the box, Santiago has the ability to grab opportunities that other leaders in the industry see them as threats. Therefore, it could be said that General Electric Oil and Gas success is highly concerned with the ability of its CEO to ‘transform’, considering the situation every time, as well as due to the ability of its CEO to think and be one step ahead of other leaders in the industry (GEnewscenter, 2009).

In conclusion, it is clear that a charismatic leadership is necessary for a firm to truly realise its potential in terms of innovation. Innovative leaders that lead by example are good for a firm but are even better when they are willing and able to replicate their innovative skills throughout all levels of the firm. Acknowledging the importance of innovation, the way innovation works and enabling it to flourish in the work area are often not direct results of one another.







References- Blog 3


Bel, R. (2010). Leadership and innovation: Learning from the best. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 29(2), 47-60.


Deschamps, J. P. (2005). Different leadership skills for different innovation strategies. Strategy & Leadership, 33(5), 31-38.


Fischer, B. (2011) AIR COVER: INNOVATION’S SECRET INGREDIENT [online] Available at: http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/steve-jobs-innovation-leadership-apple-bill-fischer.cfm [Accessed 27th March, 2013]


GEnewscenter (2009) GE Oil & Gas CEO Calls for ‘Innovation Now’ to Turn Industry Challenges into Opportunities [online] Available at:< http://www.genewscenter.com/Press-Releases/GE-Oil-Gas-CEO-Calls-for-Innovation-Now-to-Turn-Industry-Challenges-into-Opportunities-20c4.aspx> [Accessed 25 March, 2013]


Gregersen, H. and Dyer, J. (2012) How Innovative Leaders Maintain Their Edge [online] Available at: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/innovatorsdna/2012/09/05/how-innovative-leaders-maintain-their-edge/> [Accessed 25th March, 2013]


Heim, P., Chapman, E. N., & Lashutka, S. (2004). Learning to lead: An action plan for success. Axzo Press.


The Eagle (2009) Rex of Exxon [online] Available at: < www.theeagleonline.com/www-rex-of-exxon-com/>[Accessed 25th March, 2013]

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