Creativity is something I’ve spoken about quite a bit as it’s the very expression of our souls (when we tap into it) that can birth some of the most beautiful gifts. Not just for us to enjoy but to share with the world that offers enjoyment and inspiration for others.
In business, it’s the energy that brings fuel to innovation among other things.
Within corporate, it’s often said that creativity is encouraged, it’s embedded in values, mission statements and discussed in meetings. Organizations that are looking for more ‘innovation’ will give free rein to their employees to use ‘unlimited creativity’ or ‘think outside the box’ but do they really mean it?
I’m not referring to specific Marketing positions or other stereotypical creative roles for that matter. This isn’t specific to certain businesses or industries where ‘creativity’ is the essence of what they do.
I’m talking about organizations that are striving to be more innovative, lean on some of their very best talents to come to the table with creative juice in an effort to be better, solve some of their complex business challenges and meet customer’s demands.
This also goes beyond tapping into ‘creative solutions’ to ‘fix’ something and is relied upon later followed by, “We identified some creative solutions to help us be more efficient or to improve a process or to save costs.”
But what happens when the creative ideas start flowing and they’re simply not being adopted?
My own experience has shown me that there are leaders who embrace change and welcome new ideas no matter who it’s coming from. Then there are leaders who are insecure, lead by their ego and will ignore or flat out reject any idea that’s not their own.
Is it possible that the ideas were simply not strong? Yes, it’s possible. But all the time? No. Especially when you’re asking your team to come to the table with ideas.
I’ve also seen this in interviews. Candidates who unanimously were a thumbs up from every interviewer who interviewed them except for that one leader who happened to be the ‘executive decision-maker.’ Not the same context I realize, but I’m sure you can see a common theme.
It’s especially surprising when reading stats according to this hbr article where the #1 attribute CEO’s look for in their incoming workforce according to an IBM survey (1 500 CEO’s across 33 industries and 60 countries) is creativity.
According to the CMO at Novell who put it so well in his article in Forbes:
“Creative leaders are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles, particularly to engage with a new generation of employees, partners and customers.”
Tomorrow’s challenges are solved with today’s solutions. Not with the same mind that created the challenge or even the same types of solutions that were once upon a time used.
Embrace your team’s creativity.
Embrace your team. Each and every single one of them.
Embrace the ideas that are presented.
Dare to fail and try again.
Innovation isn’t meant to be safe so take risks and risk often.
Not only will you have more options for new ways of approaching your business challenges, but you’ll stretch your leadership style. You’ll demonstrate support and encouragement for the very people who are trying to help your business be better.
What does creativity look like in your business?
How is it used in serving your customers?
Let me know in the comments below!