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            [post_content] => Based on your current work – if you had only six words of advice to give a business, what would they be?

Creative Mind. Never Used. Too Bad.

 

What does this mean?

It’s a play on that devastating six-word short story commonly (though falsely) attributed to Hemingway. Equally devastating is that humanity possesses a huge potential for creativity – but for the vast majority of people, this potential will go unfulfilled. If everybody reached their full creative potential, the world would be a better and happier place, but most people aren’t even close to reaching half their potential for various reasons.

 

It might be their upbringing, if they weren’t raised to believe in themselves or to question or to dream, or they’re filled with doubt and lacking in confidence, or they simply lack the right tools and resources – there are endless reasons, many of which are culturally imposed. Take the dinner table: in this part of the world, we eat nearly all our meals with a knife and fork - no choice!. Here, creativity is being stifled because our possibilities for personal choice are limited due to cultural norms. But if you go to China as a Westerner, for example, it’s not unusual for a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, and various other culinary utensils to be placed in front of you because they don’t know what your preferences are. New possibilities for creativity open up, and you are liberated from the tyranny of the Western dinner table and free to eat your meal as you like, unencumbered by cultural practices and norms. This can be applied to the business world – what cultural practices are informing your business strategy and inhibiting your growth? What learnings can you take from other business cultures and apply to your own business strategy?

 

Curiosity is vital for both creativity and leadership. Leaders must be be curious, but it’s arguably more important that leaders encourage and foster that creativity in others. Leaders should ask questions to show teams they care, not just as employees but as induvial human beings. Not small talk, but real questions. Teams will feel when that curiosity - and care - is lacking. It’s vital that leaders spark not only their own creativity, but the creativity of others around them and disseminate that into the business. Exercises could be completing a one page document mapping out one’s own creative process, and then having the entire team do the same in order to maximise the team’s creative potential.

 

Because creativity is a process – one which should be interrogated and defined. There are many different stages in this process of taking an idea and making it happen: the original inspiration, the Eureka moment, the innovation phase, then testing and development – not counting the many stages of the process which don’t have a name…yet. Naming the different stages of the process helps make creativity less of a magical black box, as does studying the creative process of those around you and immersing yourself in a multitude of influences. Inspiration is breathing in (all those influences), but creativity is breathing out – and creating.

 

Leaders should strive to be explorers, not experts – because an expert knows everything, whereas an explorer is voyaging into the unknown, one who is constantly learning and curious to learn more. Another reason why creativity and curiosity are so vital for leadership – because leaders must be constantly learning and adapting to a fast-moving business landscape, where the pace of change brings forth never-before-seen challenges and disruptions that only the creative efforts of a team inspired by a creative leader can solve.

 

Where should we look for further information?

https://www.fredrikharen.com/
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Rachel Botsman

Rachel Botsman

9th Dec 2022

Six Words of Wisdom with Rachel Botsman

Related Articles

Six Words of Wisdom with Fredrik Haren
Six Words of Wisdom with Cali Yost

Six Words of Wisdom with Rachel Botsman

Based on your current work – if you had only six words of advice to give a leader, what would they be?

Trust yourself to hold onto doubt.

 

What does this mean?

People who have the capacity to be comfortable with doubts often have a higher tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. To be able to hold doubt, question and not jump to conclusions is a sign of high self-trust. It’s an important trait we will see becoming more prominent in leaders over the next 10 years.

Overconfident, ego-driven leaders are not who we will trust in the future. We are undergoing a major shift that will determine the types of traits we look for in our leaders.

For generations we have been surrounded by leaders who pretend to have the answers when they don’t – they often project a ‘false certainty.’ But the Covid era has shown us glimpses of how a new generation will lead in times of uncertainty. Perhaps most notably, Jacinda Ardern – the Prime Minister of New Zealand – has been open about not knowing. Leading with doubt is about slowing down and listening; expanding your capacity to respond to the unknown.

The obsessive need for speed, control and performance can have a huge impact in driving poor decisions. Doubt is often perceived as a negative force, but once we rethink doubt as something productive rather than paralysing, we can make more informed trustworthy decisions.

Paralysing doubt pulls us backwards or downwards; productive doubt pushes us forwards. Productive doubt doesn’t ‘hold us back’ but keeps us still long enough to consider other options and choices.

 

Where should we look for further information?

By subscribing to my Rethink with Rachel newsletter and receive a new edition every other Monday. You can also join the Rethink Book Club to hear regularly about what I’m reading and get recommendations to help you think differently.