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Creative Capacity

What are you doing to capitalize on the creativity around you? Creativity is the natural birthright of every person. And depending on whom you talk to (or read), it is considered the number one competitive advantage for success in business and life today. So what are you doing to unleash its potential? Buddhist teachings refer to something called Crazy Wisdom. It is

“an innocent state of mind that has the quality of early morning—fresh, sparkling, and completely awake.” (Chögyam Trungpa)

I am saddened by the dull, stale thinking that goes on in most of our organizations and institutions. People seem really bored and most brilliant ideas remain dormant due to the fact that no conditions exist to nurture people’s natural creative talents. To unleash even a little of that crazy wisdom in your organization, try the following:

  1. Assume responsibility for building your creative capacity.
  2. Be willing to set aside assumptions about your or other people’s lack of creativity.
  3. Ask people about how they think they could bring more creativity to their work.
  4. Create an environment that is conducive to good conversation, experimentation and idea sharing across departments and industries.
  5. Take a different approach when it comes to process and planning.
  6. Challenge people with good questions and stimulating opportunities.
  7. See mistakes as part of the necessary learning and feedback process.
  8. Provide a formal means for idea generation.
  9. Decide how you will capture good ideas.
  10. Don’t rush to evaluate.
  11. Utilize creativity building tools whenever you can.
  12. Develop your appreciation for and understanding of creativity.
  13. Get dirty, messy and a little crazy.
  14. Be willing to have fun and learn with others.

I invite you to leave a reply regarding your efforts to build the creative capacity in your life and work…Thank you. Yael

Role Playing: A Practice That Makes Perfect…Sense!

The Creative Coach Spring 2013_issue 2

Click to download PDF of this Article

The Creative Coach Spring 2013_issue 2

Click to download PDF of this Article


Role Playing: A Practice That Makes Perfect…Sense!

The Creative Coach Spring 2013_issue 2

Click to download PDF of this Article

The Creative Coach Spring 2013_issue 2

Click to download PDF of this Article


When it Comes to Coaching, Are You As Creative As You Can Be?

When It Comes to Coaching Are You Creative_Summer_2013

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Design your ’09

For most people January marks a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, resolutions and fabulous intentions. Professionally, it may inspire you to think about your aspirations, successes and setbacks and to consider creating a plan that will make the New Year a GREAT Year!

Frequently when people approach personal or professional development planning it is from a reactive position. The desire for change is born from an experience about what is not working. This is to be expected as we are wired to respond to pain (physical and emotional).  We are all pretty clear about what we don’t like or don’t want, and yet rarely do we give conscious though to what it is that we DO want. Let’s take that pain analogy a little further. If you put your hand on a hot stove you will, without thinking about it, pull it away, likely uttering an expletive or two. But if, instead, you were asked to set your hand upon something that you really want to touch, discover, take hold of, you’d probably stop and really have to think about it.

Making a mindful decision to work on ourselves is more wisely approached by considering what it is that we want more of. That involves a deliberate investigation into our beliefs, values, mission and vision. From there one can imagine the success measures, or indicators that would let us know we had met our objectives. After that it is a matter of thoroughly assessing where we are right NOW. And this is where assessments and feedback become our best friend.

The Leadership Skills Inventory Assessments (LSI-S) is one such assessment created to support individuals and  groups in determining a benchmark for their personal and organizational leadership proficiency. The assessment is a self-scoring and self-administered communication and learning tool that  assesses the level of functioning in  five leadership skills sections, which include the following:

  • Self-Management Skills
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Coaching and Problem-Management Skills
  • Consulting and Team Development Skills
  • Organizational Development Skills

The assessment allows you to:

Evaluate proficiency in 60 Transforming Leadership Skills

Determine required professional development for executive succession

Outline framework and focus for leadership coaching

Identify required skills for success in any leadership or supervisory role

Conduct a comprehensive 360 degree assessment by pairing it with the  LSI-Other

INtwoIT Executive Coaching & Consulting would like to help you DESIGN your ’09 and is offering an exclusive, time limited assessment and coaching package. ASK ME ABOUT IT TODAY!

Gross National Happiness

“The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.” Dalai Lama

Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas, is the only country with a Gross National Happiness index. The GNH is based on equitable development, environmental conservation, cultural heritage and good governance. The interest in happiness as a measure of national health is growing. Ruut Veenhoven, emeritus-professor of ‘social conditions for human happiness’ at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands has been compiling a world happiness data base. Veenhoven defines happiness by how much a person likes their life. Certain conditions conspire to support a happy life and it shouldn’t be of any surprise to note that rich nations tend to score higher than poor. But there is another critical factor at play- freedom.

These lofty insights into happiness have practical applications in the business world. Fundamentally, it would seem happiness is good for business. Current findings from the field of positive psychology and neuroscience are confirming that it is possible to raise happiness on a personal level and that our own happiness is highly contagious. Furthermore, happiness is good for our health. And healthy people make better, more productive employees. It seems, therefore, that any organization that truly takes an interest in happiness, in the wellbeing of employees (and customers), must encourage choice and freedom, and educate and inspire one another to demonstrate and continually cultivate a “warm-hearted feeling for others”.

random act of kindness

Do yourself a favour – Commit a random act of kindness!

I have been using random words to spark fresh perspectives and solutions. Last week, as part of a large HR retreat, I had each breakout team use a random word to kick off strategy discussions. My intention was to have people enter the dialogue from a completely different and unexpected place. Random words help you do that. So…how to:

  1. Determine the essence of your problem, challenge, issue, need. For example: How can I commit more random acts of kindness in the work place?
  2. Select a random word. I have a gigantic list that I use. Nouns are great. You might also try one of the many random word generating websites where you can also learn other ways of applying the exercise.
  3. Stick with the word you get. I got jetliner. Take some time to describe/highlight the qualities and principles of the word: Goes fast. Takes you where you need to go. Consumes too much fuel. Brings loved ones together. Seat sales. Above the crowd. Close to heaven… (you get the idea).
  4. Next apply the principles to your challenge. Look for creative ideas, associations and solutions. NOT ANSWERS. At least not yet.
  5. So in terms of my issue are there any links? How about creating opportunities for conversation corners where people can gather in a comfortable place. Or maybe I commit to decreasing wait times for delivery…You get the idea.
  6. Select another random word and do the same. Try about 5 or 6 words for the same challenge. Work with your team and really have some fun. Once you have come up with a bunch of associations and ideas you can turn your mind over to evaluation and finally implementation.

So where does the kindness piece enter this equation? People are bored. People want to be creative and explore territories and concepts not previously considered. Our insistence on coming up with the right answer has stifled the creative expression of countless teams and individuals. Next time you sit down with a problem delight your colleagues with a fresh approach, you will be amazed at the creative ideas such randomness generates.

No Stick For Me

Dan and Chip Heath are the brothers that brought you the New York Times bestseller Made To Stick. They have also landed themselves a nice monthly column in Fast Company. In April they featured a story called “Your Boss is a MonkeyManaging up using the tricks of exotic-animal training”. The gist of the article is that our reactions to inappropriate behaviors are either reinforcing or neutralizing. If we don’t like what others are doing we are advised to IGNORE IT. Not the person per se, but the behavior. Eventually this will lead the person to adopt new, more appropriate strategies for getting what they want in the circus ring of life. There is only one problem with this theory, it is unrealistic and difficult to practice. Perhaps with a two year old we can do it, but a tyrannical boss or a long-winded but respected colleague will be incensed or bewildered by your odd “Vulcan” demeanor. Instead try this:

Focus on what you want more of and when you see it blow on it.  The best way to change a person (or a culture) is to recognize the inherent positive intent in others. That positive intent (however poorly conveyed ) is alive and well in some manner – it is up to you to blow on the delicate embers of more appropriate behavior. Acknowledge the behaviour you want more of whenever you see it, even it it is just a pale glimmer of what you long to see. In organizations we are quick to point out what bothers us about others, what we don’t like and don’t want. But if we adopt the principles of appreciative inquiry and appreciative leadership we start instead with a story about what we do want. I guarantee you will have greater connections if you fan what works as opposed to just ignore what doesn’t. It does however require your involvement in deciding what you want from the person in the first place.

For more information on appreciative leadership or to discuss bringing this powerful training program to your organization please visit my website and contact me by phone or e-mail

Designers Mind

A friend of mine was telling me about the novel way in which he had made use of my web site. He is an exceptionally talented furniture designer embarking on a new project to open the first modern concept furniture store in Nelson BC. A few days ago, while simultaneously perusing my site and deliberating on his own mission manifesto he started to break down and re assemble quotes and passages from my site that he was drawn to. The dissecting, re-connecting, random pairing, and concept reversing that he did produced an incredible number of new and inspiring brand and business concepts for the store. What fascinated me, however, was his natural propensity to think creatively. It was suddenly very apparent to me why he is so skilled at what he does: for him creative thinking is a natural process.

For many of us though that isn’t the case. At least not if we have grown up in the restricted arteries of public education where, by the time we reach adolescence, our ability to think divergently has been all but erased from our skill set. The good news is we can relearn what once came naturally to us. And it’s well worth the effort. Our families, our workplaces, our communities, our very world is in great need of fresh creative thinking and there are plenty of ways in which we can spark new pathways on our linear express. I believe the best starting point is to re-frame how we think about and define creativity and to consider for ourselves how we think about our own creativity, in particular where and when and how it best flourishes.

“Creativity is not a single aspect of intelligence that only emerges in particular activities, in the arts for example. It is a systemic function of intelligence that can emerge whenever our intelligence is engaged…It arises out of our interactions with ideas and achievements of other people, It is a cultural process” Sir Ken Robinson

Another way to build creative capacity is to apply thinking techniques such as my friend did on a continual basis. Try this: Think about your challenge or issue. Capture it in a statement. Next play a piece of your favorite music, crack a book, create a list of random words and ask yourself in what way is my problem like a car, a flower, a question mark, honey, travel; or wander through an interesting website. In each case, allow yourself to make random associations between what you think, see, experience and your challenge. Capture ideas, images, words. The key is to allow the natural unfolding of thought without judgment. One thing creative geniuses know is that volume is key. The more you invite creative ideas into your mind the higher the chances are of landing on a winning and innovative solution.