Olivia Fox: Training CEOs and innovators to overcome self-doubt

October 5, 2010 | Robert Scoble

Above is the TWO minute highlight version of the Spitfire/Olivia Fox Cabane interview.  If you like this, and we think you will, you’ll love the full-length version posted just below.

I interview innovators all the time, but today I’m talking with Olivia Fox, whose job is to help innovators innovate better, and CEOs to lead and persuade better. She has lectured everywhere from MIT to Google, helping people with high potential become more charismatic and effective.

What has she learned from training all these big shots? “One of the things that is most fascinating to me,” says Fox, Chief Charisma Coach at Spitfire Communications, “is how important it is to fail successfully, and only the best innovators and best leaders know how to do that.”

Failing successfully sounds like an oxymoron—but it isn’t. “Innovation requires the willingness to risk that what you’re doing may not work out,” explains Fox. “Otherwise, you’re only going to do things you know will work out, old things—rather than new things where you don’t know what the outcome’s going to be.”

One of the most common issues for successful people is the Impostor Syndrome, where even engineers at Google or ace students at Stanford’s business school feel that they are one moment away from being revealed as less than qualified. “Just as there can be optical illusions that can trick your eyes, there can be thought distortions that trick your brain,” says Fox.

So does innovation require us to look stupid? “Yes—and to feel okay about it,” says Fox. “There are countless examples of failures that became the brilliant success. So knowing how to fail successfully…there’s nothing that will improve the quality of your days, the quality of your life satisfaction, the quality of your performance more than how you feel about yourself.”

More info:
Olivia Fox’s web site: http://www.askolivia.com/
Olivia Fox’s blog: http://www.spitfireteam.com/blog

Watch the full interview with Olivia Fox here:

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{ 1 comment }

Mark Spofforth October 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Love that you’re including psychology relevant to new tech and business development.
Much prefer long form video. Clips are OK for light entertainment but went I want to learn, I like some meat on the bones.

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