Safety 2013ASSE’s Safety 2013 officially opens with the usual pomp and circumstance this morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The opening general session presentation is by Peter Sheahan, on the topic of “Creative Strategies for Turning Challenge Into Opportunity and Change Into Competitive Advantage.”

Sheahan is the author of six books, including “Fl!p,” “Generation Y,” and his newest book, “Making It Happen.”

Emphasizing a new philosophy for leadership, “Fl!p” offers a counterintuitive approach to innovation and change, and inspires leaders to take the intelligent risks required to find and exploit new value in the coming years.

According to Sheahan, the thinking that has made us successful to date will not in the future; in many cases, it will hinder us. The expectations of customers and staff are changing rapidly and leaders need to keep pace. Sheahan addresses six challenges:

  1. Action Creates Clarity— To move forward, you must act in spite of ambiguity
  2. Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick 3— The acceleration of competitive advantages into competitive necessities
  3. Superficial Is Anything But— The emergence of intangibles as the only source of sustainable competitive advantage
  4. Business Is Personal— The emergence of relationships and connectivity in a world of data and information overload
  5. Find It On The Fringe— To win mass-market success, be courageous and seek genuine differentiation on the fringe of mainstream positioning and practices
  6. To Get Control, Give It Up— Embrace new business models and leadership styles anchored in influence and trust, not compliance and control

In “Making It Happen,”Sheahan guides the reader through the five competencies that will enable you to understand and utilize the forces that drive buyers’ behavior, break through mental barriers and effectively position your offer in the market. The five competencies are:

  1. Packaging: Turning your aspiration into a commercial offer
  2. Positioning: Aligning your offer with a market need
  3. Influence: Convincing the buyer to buy what he or she needs from you, NOW
  4. Acceleration: Rapidly increase demand for what you offer with proportionately less time and effort
  5. Reinvention: Expanding your impact into new and exciting areas

As founder and CEO of ChangeLabs™, a global consultancy delivering large-scale behavioral change projects for clients such as Apple and IBM, Sheahan has worked with some of the world’s leading brands in the area of innovation and change. With operations in three countries and nine cities, Sheahan knows first-hand the pressures of growing and leading a business in the rapidly changing world. He has advised executives and leaders for clients that include Google, Goldman Sachs, Hilton Hotels, Harley Davidson and GlaxoSmithKline through his thought leadership practice.