Hal’s Story

Drucker’s keen insight about the power of questions has long been a guiding inspiration for Hal Gregersen. An innovation and leadership guru, Hal is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. While Hal’s expertise expands across all areas of innovative leadership, asking the right questions cuts deeply across all of his work. He challenges organizations and individuals to question the way we think and act to build a better, more creative world.

Hal’s most recent book, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, flows from a path-breaking international research project (with Jeff Dyer & Clayton Christensen). They explored where disruptive innovations come from by interviewing founder entrepreneurs and CEOs at 100+ of the most innovative companies in the world and by assessing how 15,000+ leaders leverage five key innovation skills to create valuable new products, services, processes, and businesses.

To grasp how leaders find and ask the right questions – ones that disrupt the world – Hal is now studying 200+ renowned business and government leaders. This question-centric project is surfacing insights into how leaders build better questions to unlock game-changing solutions. The first article from the project -“Bursting the CEO Bubble” (March/April 2017 Harvard Business Review) – explores how senior leaders can ask better questions to unlock what they don’t know they don’t know – before it’s too late.  Hal is also founder of The 4-24 Project, an initiative dedicated to rekindling the provocative power of asking the right questions in adults so they can pass this crucial creativity skill onto the next generation.

Putting his insight into practice, he is the creator of a unique executive development experience “Leadership and the Lens: Learning at the Intersection of Innovation and Image-Making.” The course draws on Hal’s two passions – photography and innovation–to teach participants how to ask radically better questions and change their impact as leaders. Ranked as one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50, Hal regularly delivers inspirational keynote speeches, motivational executive seminars and transformational coaching experiences. He also works with a diverse set of companies to help them master the challenges of innovation and change, from Chanel to IBM to the World Economic Forum.

The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question. For there are few things as useless, if not dangerous, as the right answer to the wrong question.

Peter Drucker

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The Why Behind Hal’s Work

“Eyes lighting up” matters most. Always will. Engaging heads and hearts, surfacing periscopic “aha’s” as insights click and whir, resonating like perfectly-tuned interior drums. I care deeply about peering inside and outside with fresh eyes, open eyes, inquisitive eyes—gleaning novel angles on what we think we see. I crave clearer vision, knowing we still look through a glass darkly. I delight in seeing others’ eyes on fire, fueled by self-sustained inquiry, freely roving interior and exterior realities.

I create open space where honest questions generate honest insights, where seeing difference is appreciating difference, where living wisely is normal—not exceptional. I sustain a world where we see eye to eye, yet differently, exulting in multi-focal lenses on life. I craft a world where grownups tightly grasp a cherished childlike inheritance—curiosity. I construct purpose-full harbors where uncomfortable, unanswerable questions take liberty. I live in a world of relational transparency where authenticity rules and “we” means more than “me.” I seek a world of effervescent light, fluorescing within and without.

I midwife self-induced “See”-sections, where living inquiry through substantive self-examination lets light in and out. Seeing, speaking, writing, and being for souls to soar—awakening eyes, reconciling contraries, halving hearts, embracing peace. Captured singly, “Illuminatio” anchors my life and my work. Changing a world, leading in light.

Seeing • Soul • Fully