Quick Quiz: What do the following have in common?
- The iPhone
- The Tesla Model S
- The self-cleaning litter box
- The Sputnik 1 satellite
Answer: They were all the product of a creative idea. As was every single other breakthrough that made a million dollars, cured a disease, or changed the world.
They all came from a creative idea.
Every company that exists-or that that ever exists-originated with a creative idea.
Every billionaire on the Forbes 400 list is there because of a creative idea. (Sometimes that creative idea happened a generation or two ago.)
Every breakthrough through competition made that kept you up at night came from a creative idea.
So why in the world are not you doing everything you can possibly increase your creativity and that of your team?
Here's why. Because, although academically you understand that creativity is absolutely, unarguably, indisputably one of the most essential skills any leader can posses-deep down inside you think that creativity training is a gratuitous and unnecessary waste of time and money that invariably involves funny hats and Nerf balls.
I'm right about this, are not I?
Think about it. If I told you that there was a tool that could …
- equip you to react effectively to changes in the marketplace, and at the same time
- equip you to proactively initiate changes in the marketplace, and at the same time
- allow you to see patterns in your industry and marketplace that help you predict the future of your business, and at the same time
- unlock a virtual endless supply of lucrative products and services, and at the same time
- increase employee engagement, attract millennials to your work, and reduce turnover
… you'd probably say (to quote Liz Lemon), “I want to go there!”
Until I tell you that the tool that does all of this is creativity .
At which point, you say, “Oh.” And then turn your attention back to your iPhone (which, I remind you, is a multi-billion dollar product of a creative idea).
Let's be absolutely clear here. If you, as a leader, turn your back on creativity as a strategic tool for moving your team, your business, and your industry forward, you are committing leadership malpractice.
Creativity is not a “game” reserved for poets, musicians, and Cirque du Soleil performers. Creativity-strategic creativity-is:
- the ability to find better ways of doing what you're already doing,
- the ability to spot trends ahead of the competition,
- the ability to incorporate best practices from other industries into your own,
- the ability to engage your team with work that challenges and invigorates them,
- the ability to generate profitable ideas- on demand!
So please stop thinking of creativity as an option. It's not. Let's be blunt: If you think creativity is an option, and your competitor thinks of it as a necessity, your competitor will win-period.
Get serious about creativity. Because creative-strategic creativity-is serious business.