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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:
- Assume responsibility for building your creative capacity.
- Be willing to set aside assumptions about your or other people’s lack of creativity.
- Ask people about how they think they could bring more creativity to their work.
- Create an environment that is conducive to good conversation, experimentation and idea sharing across departments and industries.
- Take a different approach when it comes to process and planning.
- Challenge people with good questions and stimulating opportunities.
- See mistakes as part of the necessary learning and feedback process.
- Provide a formal means for idea generation.
- Decide how you will capture good ideas.
- Don’t rush to evaluate.
- Utilize creativity building tools whenever you can.
- Develop your appreciation for and understanding of creativity.
- Get dirty, messy and a little crazy.
- 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
When it comes to cause and effect we tend to be overly concerned with the effect others are having on us and rarely consider how we ourselves are influencing or causing results. A poorly prepared meal in a restaurant, harsh words from a loved one, road construction and unnecessary delays, missed deadlines, errors, these are personalized to the point of insanity while imagining that our own behaviours have a light and/or temporary influence on other people or processes “I said i was sorry, can’t you just get over it?”.
The truth is we have no idea how the relationships we cultivate or the emotions we generate today will influence tomorrow. Or ten years from tomorrow. In a related manner, the systems thinking principle behind this truth has recently come to light here in British Columbia with the arrival of tons of debris from the Japanese Tsunami. On a personal level we can think about this by imagining ourselves as both a spider and a web. As a spider we are moved by the smallest of breezes, the social and emotional climate, the comings and goings of others—the effects of which manifest in numerous ways. As a web, we are a gossamer thread touching everyone from the girl at the grocery store checkout counter, to our colleagues and loved ones to a switchboard operator thousands of miles away. And each touch point ripples outward in its own unexpected ways, touching off further effects or causes, some of which are obviously stronger than others.
Emotional contagion offers a great example of this ripple. At work or at home, the negative, sad, or joyful mood of others can rub off on us (or vice versa). Then later in the day, we “carry” that mood forward into our relationships at home, even continuing on with pertinent stories of misery or glee depending on the contamination- Indeed, this web stretches over vast distances as well. I once wrote a song, only to learn many years later that it had been taught to a group of people somewhere in the Gaza Strip! Cause and effect- the ripple, the web- can even, in true quantum fashion, fold back upon itself- returning to the source (us) in the form of what for many can only be thought of as Karma. “he really had it coming to him!” might be the words we utter when the great serpent comes around to bite its own tail. Or, in a more self pitying plea: “why does this always happen to me?”
So what does this all mean? You decide.
Leadership is like soup– if you want it to taste good, nourish people, comfort and inspire then you have to consider all of the ingredients that go into making a great leader and encourage the conditions that best enable one to simmer to their fullest potential. So many leadership books and development programs talk only of skills-or competencies- and suggest that if one adopts, models or mimics the skills they will master the art of leadership.
This thinking is akin to believing that if you follow a recipe you will become a master chef and that simply isn’t true. Great chefs are dedicated to the cause of making great food. They make a point of considering every input- every ingredient that goes in, as well as their own creative influence upon the ingredients- the stirring, the dialing up or down of heat, cookware, altitude, seasonal availability, etc. So if leadership is a grand soup then what should go into the pot?
LEARNING- What a person has learned in the past and continues to learn for the future informs their world view and priorities. Ensure what you are learning is expansive enough to accommodate your highest aspirations. To remain creative make sure to include the pursuit of knowledge that is seemingly unrelated and enjoy the synergy that comes through diversity.
ENERGY-When a person eats well they have the stamina to meet demands. If you are what you eat, then what would your eating habits be saying about you as a person and leader- healthy food choices reveal an important aspect of ones character and commitment to the planet. Choose organic, limit processed food and eliminate excessive sugar, salt and sodas.
ATTITUDE- Thoughts about the world, other people, and ourselves conspire to produce character. Meditate on these words by the Dalai Lama.
Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life…
DREAMS- A leaders vision for the future is essential to her/his work and impact on others. What are your ideas, hopes, fears, beliefs, and aspirations and how are they informing your dreams for the future?
EXPERIENCE- What life experiences are informing your character, skills, and beliefs as a leader. Are past experiences getting in the way of future aspirations? Are new and upcoming experiences feeding your soul and mind in compelling and inspiring ways?
RELATIONSHIPS- Who do you love? Who do you hang out with? How do you nurture family and friends? As you are in your personal life, so you are in your professional life. Review the pleasure and inspiration that comes from your relationships with others. If there are improvements to be made- make them and let go of relationships if they are knowingly toxic. Heck you wouldn’t put poison in your soup would you?
SYSTEMS VIEW- What are you doing to expand your world view? As we seek to understand life beyond our front gate, beyond our borders, and beyond the familiar, we gain greater awareness of the vastness of the human condition and are better able to appreciate the diversity of people- There are many ways to make soup.
HEALTH- Should leadership cost us our health? Do you want to follow someone who cant seem to take care of themselves in a mindful way? Ensure you attend to the freshness of your own leadership ingredients by making healthy choices, getting sufficient rest, exercising, designing healthy working environments, and dealing with health problems promptly, and attending to your mental and physical health on an ongoing basis.
IDEOLOGY-How does ideology influence your presence as a leader? Are your thoughts and beliefs well founded and mindfully managed to limit harm or judgment of others?
PRESS (Media- What are you reading and consuming in the way of media- what TV shows are you watching, what newscasts do you favour, what propaganda are you succumbing to? What magazines do you read? How do you seek a wider perspective?