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3 Ways To Embrace A Leapfrogging Mindset To Surprise And Innovate

3 Ways To Embrace A Leapfrogging Mindset To Surprise And Innovate, article by DrNadine Greiner PhD

Frogs are marvelous creatures. Some frogs are able to jump over 20 times their own body length. To put this into perspective, it’s equivalent to a human jumping 30 meters! It’s no wonder frogs are celebrated in many cultures. In Egypt, the frog is a symbol of life and of fertility.

In many ways, frogs are the epitome of disruptive companies. The frog’s signature move, the leap, is a hallmark of companies that break the status quo and create disruptive innovations that transform markets. As a leader, your success in today’s constantly changing business ecosystem will be defined by your ability to master the art of leapfrogging.

1. Saying goodbye to the status quo

Disruptive innovation does not happen by maintaining the status quo. Companies must adopt a “leapfrogging" mindset and push the boundaries of innovation. Soren Kaplan, an expert on disruptive innovation and author of the bestselling book “Leapfrogging & The Invisible Advantage” explains, “Leading disruptive innovation and change involves leapfrogging—creating or doing something radically new or different that produces a significant leap forward.”

By definition, leapfrogging requires leaving a place of safety and comfort. A frog is temporarily in the air without any sort of footing. Leaders who embrace leapfrogging know that they must commit to pushing boundaries and departing from a place of comfort and safety.

2. It starts with a vision

Disruptive innovation, first and foremost, requires a compelling vision. Leaders must communicate a strong vision and ensure that all team members buy into the vision. As a leader, you must clearly and compellingly articulate your vision and help team members understand why they are integral to it. Jeff Bezos, in reflecting on the Amazon culture, explains, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details”.

3 Ways To Embrace A Leapfrogging Mindset To Surprise And Innovate, quote by DrNadine Greiner PhD

3. Confidence trumps all

Think about where a frog’s eyes are positioned when it is leaping from lily pad to lily pad. The frog is looking at the target. It is not looking at where it came from. And it’s not looking at its feet. When you commit to leapfrogging, you must adopt unwavering confidence. Don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t blindly follow the competition. Commit to a destination and don’t look back.

The truly disruptive companies—the Apples, Netflixes, Amazons, and Ubers of the world prioritize disruptive innovation over incremental or sustaining innovation. They create new markets in uncontested market space where competition is largely irrelevant. While incremental innovators allow companies to move along a predictable performance path, disruptive innovators establish an entirely new path. When executed effectively, disruptive innovations are more profitable than incremental or sustaining innovations. Just as in our favorite fairy tales, when you embrace the frog, you transform into a prince.


I care deeply about helping leaders and advancing the human resources profession. I have authored two books, The Art of Executive Coaching and Stress-less Leadership, and maintain a regular blog. I am also a leading contributor for The Society For Human Resources Management, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Association of Talent Development.

As an active animal advocate, I donate 100% of all book proceeds to animal welfare.

The opinions in this article are my own, and do not reflect those of my publishers or employers.


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