Embracing the Weird: Frankie Russo on Authentic Leadership

Feb 20, 2024

In our fast paced business world, where the only constant is change, letting your weird flag fly could be your ticket to staying ahead of the curve.


I had the pleasure of discussing leadership innovation with Frankie Russo, a serial tech entrepreneur known for his groundbreaking approach to fostering innovation within teams and companies.


Frankie Russo, an entrepreneur with an eight-year streak on the Inc. 500 list, brings a fresh perspective with his “Love Your Weird” framework as a method for driving creativity and innovation. This approach is all about tapping into our authentic selves, letting our imagination run wild, and embracing a spirit of generosity in our professional lives.


As Frankie puts it, “Loving your weird, essentially, is this connection that we all have to our inner child, our five year old self, and how that relates to how we show up at work; specifically how that can relate to unlocking a culture of continuous innovation. And so, loving your weird, it’s about loving all the different parts of yourself.”



Unlocking Authenticity: Your First Step Towards Innovation

Russo’s idea starts with a simple yet profound truth: being real with ourselves can lead to big changes. He believes that the creativity and fearlessness we had as kids shouldn’t be lost as we grow up and step into the business world. Instead of hiding behind the masks we often wear at work, Russo encourages us to face our fear of failure and be true to who we are. He shares how his own journey of embracing his unique qualities led to significant growth in his business.


  • Think about it: What parts of your true self have you been sidelining in your work? Imagine the energy and innovation that could come from bringing your whole self to the table.


Imagination: Letting Your Ideas Soar

Frankie is big on imagination. He points out that while kids are naturals at dreaming up new ideas, adults can get a bit stuck in their ways. But why settle for the usual when you can aim for the extraordinary? Russo’s own life, from tinkering in his parents’ basement to making big waves in the business world, shows us that when we let our imagination take the lead, amazing things can happen.


  • Action step: Shake things up in your next team meeting. Encourage everyone to bring their wildest, ‘what if’ ideas to the discussion. You might just stumble upon your next big breakthrough.


Generosity: The Heart of Teamwork

The last piece of Frankie Russo’s innovation puzzle is generosity. He believes in building a team where everyone shares freely, combining their strengths to come up with something truly groundbreaking. This kind of teamwork can lead to not only great ideas but also a happier, more connected crew.


  • Try this: Start a tradition of sharing within your team:  “What’s one fascinating or helpful thing you learned this week?” It could be insights, a helpful article, or even a word of encouragement. creates a diverse blend of insights and experiences, fosters an environment that nurtures creativity, and ensures everyone feels integral to the team’s success.


Frankie highlights the power that lies in embracing our quirks, dreaming big, and working together. In a world that often pushes us toward conformity, Russo’s message is a breath of fresh air.


Celebrate your weirdness, and watch the doors of innovation swing wide open.


Frankie also shares…

  • The transformative impact of confronting and embracing childhood fears.
  • The importance of creating a workplace that mirrors the boundless creativity found in childhood play.
  • Celebrating individual quirks within the team to foster a culture of inclusivity and innovation.


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