“Over time and cultures, the most robust and most effective form of communication is the creation of a powerful narrative.”

Howard Gardner, Leading Minds

Take a good, hard look at some of the most innovative companies in the world. They carve out time to do what the Team Nano did. They move from buzzwords and lofty aspirations to rubber-meets-the-road commitment. Their executives are engaged, lending support in the form of ideas, resources, removing roadblocks and making connections.

The ability to see what’s possible and then mobilize people to make it happen is one of the scarcest resources in the world. Consider the companies like Apple, 3M, P&G, Pixar, Medtronic, Nokia with a world-renowned reputation for turning out one game-changing innovation after another.

What makes them unique? Each of these icons has a leader who frames the story and creates an expectation for Nanovation.

Nanovation finds its legs when people are mobilized and Ratan Tata rarely talks about the Nano without some reference to the fact that there are solutions to most problems if are only willing to break down self-imposed barriers—starting in our minds.

Nanovation requires a leap—a leap of faith in your own ideas as well as in the ideas and capabilities of your colleagues. Leadership is about how you make people feel. In addition to his own big thinking and unbending resolve to accept nothing less than the elegant, perhaps the most powerful thing Ratan Tata brought to Team Nano was a deep-seated belief in their ability to do what had never been done. By constantly communicating his faith in the team—particularly when elegant solutions seemed nowhere to be found—Ratan helped each of the members expand their own views of their own capabilities.

If you want to lead the revolution, you have to give power to the people.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead