From stagnancy to creativity
Some leaders maintain, other leaders create. Resilient organisations that remain top of mind to the consumer and retain relevance in the culture are those that have forward thinking leaders at the helm, who embrace creativity. Leaders with a bias for action and imagination. Leaders willing to bear the potential brunt of failure and risk in the short-term, for exponential growth in the future. This is the type of leadership needed for organisations to thrive in the new economy.
Creativity can be described as the imaginative process of generating ideas. As posited by Natalie Nixon in her book The Creativity Leap, it can otherwise be denoted as “the ability to toggle between wonder and rigour in order to solve problems and deliver novel value.”
A few things immediately stand out when you probe this definition. The first, inter alia, is that creativity is unpredictable in nature and welcomes uncertainty. This is particularly hard for traditional leaders who obsess over predictability and conformity. But what the contemporary business leader must understand, is that in the modern economy, ideas are currency.
Parallel to this, it is impossible to escape unfamiliarity in the innovative process.
Ergo, leaders would do well to entrench an ethos of creativity in the culture that drives their organisations. The below further elaborates on how this can be seen through.
1. Establish a sense of purpose
There is often an emphasis on passion when it comes to creativity and innovation, but purpose is the bedrock of passion. When people are driven by a commonality of interest and shared values — a product of purpose — passion is the outcome.
2. Reward risk
The idea of high risk is no foreign concept to the startup sector and this is why inventiveness — in the main — is so prevalent in these quarters.
There is no way to avoid risk in the pursuit of novelty.
Thus, to place a high value on ideas, small and large corporations must forge a culture that rewards judicious risk.
3. Champion adhocracy and autonomy
There is no question that endless bureaucracy and structure impedes innovation. While it is equally true that systems and processes go a long way in ensuring efficacious management, the trick is to institute a blend that allows for agility and autonomy.
4. Support bold action
Failure is almost always inevitable when venturing into the unknown. Consequently, leaders need to provide a level of comfort and security in support of those who pursue unfamiliar territory. It was William Faulkner who said, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” William Faulkner
5. Encourage diversity
Malcolm Forbes describes diversity as “The art of thinking independently together.” Such a simple in yet apt representation.
The takeaway, is that when you have good, independent thinkers that find ways not only to convey but converge perspectives, the outbirth is a wealth of ideas.
Creativity should not be viewed as an abstract concept. There is a plethora of evidence showing positive linkage between creativity and long-term performance, financial and otherwise. Thus, for business leaders in a dynamic commercial environment, creative organisational culture should play a central role in their strategy and search for superiority and edge.
Lastly, great results are a function of small incremental change underscored by an unbending force of consistency. If leaders are to get this right in their teams and businesses, it will be because they displayed a firm level of commitment and consistency in the direction of change.
Consistency is the difference maker.