Quick Quiz: What do the following have in common?
Tesla Model S
The self-cleaning litter box
The Sputnik 1 satellite
Answer: They were all the product of a creative idea. Like all other breakthroughs that have made a million dollars, cured an illness, or changed the world.
They are all from a creative idea.
Every business that exists – or has ever existed – was born from a creative idea.
Every billionaire on the Forbes 400 list is there because of a creative idea. (Sometimes this creative idea happened a generation or two ago.)
Each breakthrough in your competition that kept you awake came from a creative idea.
So why on earth are you not doing everything you can to increase your creativity and that of your team?
Here's why. Because, although academically you understand that creativity is absolutely, unquestionably, unquestionably one of the most essential skills a leader can have – deep down, creativity training is a waste of time and free and useless money that invariably involves funny hats and nerf balls.
I am right about that, right?
Think about it. If I told you that there was a tool that could …
equip you to react effectively to market developments, and at the same time
equip yourself for proactively launch changes in the market, and at the same time
allow you to see trends in your industry and market that help you predict the future of your business, and at the same time
unlock a virtually endless supply of lucrative products and services, and at the same time
increase employee engagement, attract millennials to your workforce and reduce turnover
… you would probably say (to quote Liz Lemon), "I want to go!"
Until I tell you that the tool that does it all is creativity.
At that point, you say, "Oh." And then go back to your iPhone (which, I remind you, is the multi-billion dollar product of a creative idea).
Let us be absolutely clear here. If you, as a leader, turn your back on creativity as a strategic tool to advance your team, your business and your industry, you are committing a professional misconduct in leadership.
Creativity is not a "game" reserved for poets, musicians and artists of Cirque du Soleil. Creativity – strategic creativity – is:
the ability to find better ways to do what you already do,
the ability to spot trends before competition,
the ability to integrate best practices from other industries into yours,
the ability to engage your team in work that challenges and invigorates them,
the ability to generate profitable ideason demand!
So please stop thinking of creativity as an option. It is not. Let's face it: if you think creativity is an option, and your competitor sees it as a necessity, your competitor will win.
Be serious about creativity. Because creativity – strategic creativity – is a serious business.