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A Call For Leaders: Bring Creativity Back To Your Culture!

Leadership

Stuck In Their Ways

If your organisation feels downright stuck in its ways, and whatever you try to change, when any creative thoughts or ideas are stifled, what do you do?

Imagine you’ve been asked to take over the leadership of a struggling team.  Within the team are creative thinkers but they have given up on putting their ideas forward. What do you do?

Any creative culture is the very ‘psyche’ of an organisation. This psyche is always self-aware to responding in ways much like a conscious person constantly improves through self-reflection and personal mastery.

For ideas to move forward and benefit your organisation everyone  from top to bottom needs to be able to express their thoughts freely. Team members should be able to be given the opportunity to help each other without taking over from you as a leader.

The Dynamics Of Creativity

The dynamics between creativity and business are ever changing in response to a hostile economic climate and we are constantly being challenged to respond in the workplace with ever more imaginative processes and business ideas, just to keep ahead of the crowd.

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A key question: Is creativity really more sought after now than ever, and if so, why?

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Although there are obviously some great companies that we hear about all the time, these are still in the minority. And how the corporate sector values creativity today – is ‘still’ often frowned upon in the majority of businesses today.

We  need a creative culture, not only to inspire us and give us fortitude especially in volatile times, but we need to each have a unique blend of talents and special dynamic values within our workforce, from leaders to the teams, to help unlock our creative potential, to evolve and utilize our talents. It is also important for leaders to help others to unlock their creative potential and in so doing help them help themselves and others.

Creativity And The Rubik Cube

In my own company we use the analogy of the ‘Rubik Cube’. For any given issue to be resolved to everyone’s complete satisfaction it takes an alignment of minds, with everyone having the freedom to express their opinions and put forward creative suggestions and ideas. When we are all working in alignment as a team and sharing each other’s short term as well as long term goals and creative thinking we are much more likely to succeed.

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Since all great creativity pushes boundaries beyond established norms, having these creative traits within our teams can teach us about courage, leadership, ambiguity, and complexity.

Executives, as well as our business leaders, would do well to draw this innovative inspiration from a number of everyday creative sources such as music, theatre and the arts. If leaders appreciate creativity in these forms they can be more inspired and open-minded to non-analytical approaches to business problem thinking, engaging with their team in interesting and radically new ways.

“Engage rather than sell … work as a co-creator, not a marketer.” – Tom H.C. Anderson

Some of my favourite business colleagues are passionate storytellers and are able to connect both analytically, and with real emotion, and are able to excite people to accomplish great things together. Through collaborative, innovative, growth and team-based learning they use the arts to stimulate and lead their teams forward in new exciting directions.

Here are some useful questions that can help you to align the sides of the cube in your organisation;

  • Emotion - Creativity is about passion and love. Perhaps your organisation has not considered that this can be a key factor in a valued culture?

Leaders need to encourage more than just the analytical knowledge – what I call the ‘free cube movement’. This is the ability to be in touch with, and use creative skills to achieve excellent results, and manage emotive knowledge.

  • Experience – We are all in the ‘now’ of an experience-based economy. Whenever we buy a product or service we are taking on an experience, whether we are consciously doing so or not. Does your organisation know how to build and how to shape those experiences in its culture to provide that ‘employee centred experience’?
  • Energy - All leaders need to tap into the positive energy of their teams. Productivity and profitability is based on the pretext that your teams will always give their best. Do you have the creative talent to engage this energy both within and around your organisation?
  • Absorption – When we think about the arts, we are all aware of the idea of creative industry, whether it is art galleries, museums, or art and design in general.  It is then that we can use the arts for social and cultural growth in our environments and in the workplace. How can this creativity be integrated and absorbed within your organisational life in order to absorb cultural change at all levels?

Creativity is a process that can be developed and managed. Generating innovative ideas is both a function of the mind, and a function of behaviours, behaviours just about anyone can put into practice. Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering whole brain thinking. We learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesizing information.

Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.” - Edward de Bono

Questions You May Ask Yourself About The Learning Outcomes Of Taking On Board This Creativity?

  • You can accomplish and understand the art and craft of leadership. Are you able to spark creativity, improve teamwork, and develop collaborative leadership skills in your organisation?
  • Are you able to develop leadership presence and reflective practices in your current role?
  • Do you have a creative resilience, against all the odds?
  • Is your inspiration continually updated and renewed?
  • Do you give great feedback for amazing ideas and work? Remember, creative culture thrives on positive feedback.

A creative organisational culture gets us taking on board fresh thinking and innovation to stay ahead of the game in an international market place. Increasingly we are looking to the creative industries to drive the economy forward.

How then is creativity best managed, and what does creativity in organisation look like?

Need a burst of inspiration? Wildly creative thinkers share ideas, strategies and warm-hearted encouragement that can help let your genius out.

In this TED Video, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’  has thought long and hard about creativity and here she talks about, ‘genius’, and how we ruin it.

I love that phrase in her video…

“What are you doing today?”
“Oh, not much, just moving towards brilliance”.

And on a final note…

Dame Vivienne Westwood, English fashion designer and businesswoman icon, who is  largely responsible for bringing modern punk fashions into the mainstream is convinced that the world is increasingly—and dangerously—short of creative culture.

According to Vivienne, there seems to be no quick fix for culture, and more important, there seems to be no substitute for its ultimate goal, which also appears to be the invisible force behind every good idea, the reason behind it all: making the world we live in a better place, even if by simply enriching oneself!

Are you moving towards brilliance with your creative thoughts to create a culture of brilliance? We might not want to think of this as the context for our creativity in the workplace, however our ideas and our customers do so, regardless.

Share your views on this topic below.

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Comments on this Article: 1

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  1. Kay Ross says:

    One of the best ways to nurture creativity, storytelling, teamwork and experimentation to achieve excellent results is improvisation, because the principles, skills and mindset of improvisation are absolutely applicable to life and business. So I encourage people to do improv classes and invite applied improvisation trainers into their organisations.

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