A Two Step, Two Video Dance towards Loose – Tight Change & Innovation Leadership

If there is one thing that is buzzing in leadership circles in social media, it is that building an innovative, agile culture is key to remaining viable, surviving disruptive change, and thriving.

Consider Loose – Tight leadership by rightsizing your grip.

Deb, first flying experience

Grip the steering wheel too tightly and the result can be crushed creativity, stifled innovation and minimal risk taking.  You also ward away the energy from your renegades that bring productive tension to your organization.  Grip too loosely, and fragmentation, de-acceleration and multiple leaders heading in different directions can crop up.


Dead battles, like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead grip.
~ Barbara Tuchman


Below are two very different videos and phrases that I’ve gleaned from  change leader & innovation curation streams including:

  • 1) First followership:  Early success with classic leader sponsorship, including supporting first followers as equals, is  key to building change and innovation momentum.   A video that illustrates this simply and elegantly is below:
  • 2) Connection to your audience as a system:  Kia’s market share continues to climb in the car market (at the time of this post.)   It’s impressive, even keeping in mind the Japan disasters of late.  Their innovative, cool ad campaigns are a part of their success.


To dance is to be out of yourself.  Larger, more beautiful, more powerful~ Agnes De Mille 


With the United States holiday, Halloween date of this post, this video gives perspective on tuning into your audience system.  In this case the audience is young, hip, colorful, wanting high value for low cost, gaming & sci-fi friendly.

What stops the battle & mayhem in this colorful ad (besides the Hollywood script)?  How is this a stop and GRIP moment, loose or tight in your role working with leadership or serving as a leader?  (The dancing just got a bit cooler too.)

A loose – tight grip is a form of strategy agility:  I’ve described this in previous blog posts (post 1 detailed, post 2.)  Suffice it to say here that following ANY plan exactly (tight) can be what is essential to success through change resistance, as well as distinguishing the tyranny of an agenda or a too-rigid plan that must be adjusted or reinvented based on mid-course check-in and new information (loose).

Video of Deb’s grip on the wheel, flying

Having the judgment to continuously cultivate your loose-tight adaptability is a leader differentiator.   This is the new path replacing strategic planning. 


Dancers are the messengers of the gods.  ~ Martha Graham


Also consider this useful leadership (pilot’s) right action checklist question for making the space for innovation:

What are the right actions  

  • to be implemented at the right time,
  • with the right people,
  • in the right space,
  • with the right resources,
  • to get the right results?

(Credit, executive coach, Mike Jay.)  I say a bit more about the coaching approach I use on the REVELN coaching page here.

  • What is your perspective on  first follower-ship and influence?  
  • What is your approach to  the use of power especially considering Peter Drucker’s “there’s no such thing as leadership” which I’ve excerpted here?

As always, I thank you for stopping by and sharing your time exploring topics of successful, healthy organizations and their people and systems.  Your comments enrich the learning.

~  Deb

Note: This post was originally posted in 2011 here and was updated in 2013 and 2018 with the addition of additional leadership references.


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Published by dnrevel

Change & transition, organization development & team facilitation and retreats. Also REVELN Gardens for flowers and heirloom tomatoes. My LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dnrevel

6 thoughts on “A Two Step, Two Video Dance towards Loose – Tight Change & Innovation Leadership

  1. Hello Deb,

    Fun article, thank you for posting. I also agree, that gripping the steering wheel too tight can have just as negative an outcome as too loosely. People need some sense of direction in order to enable culmulative efforts, aligning in a desired direction. Too tight, and people either maliciously comply or simply do the basics of their role.

    I do enjoy the first video, highlighting the importance of the ‘first follower’ more than that of the leader himself. It is an excellent example of leadership, aspiration, alignment, and rapid growth.



    1. Great JT! The first follower is, indeed, a great model, regarding his pivotal role in modeling support and agreement. There have been moments when we miss recognizing those critical first followers in our organizations as well as in our relationships, when we are endeavoring to make an important change.

      The second video, for those who know about the many hits on the original version, is about being “infected” with the “shuffling” dance disease, like so many of the sci-fi movies of the past decade. Imagine the first follower having that type of viral impact. Being the lever.

      Oh for more leverage! It can happen! Best to you JT! –Deb


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