Creativity is defined as being ‘the process of producing something original and worthwhile’. The ‘original’ part of the definition is fairly self-explanatory, but the ‘worthwhile’ part is open to a lot of subjectivity.
In relation to leadership, creativity can be seen as being something worthwhile to other people in your circle of influence and valuable to your organisation, team or marketplace.
This ‘worthwhile’ part may challenge our perceptions. For example, we’ve all seen a piece of modern art, about which we say to ourselves ‘a five year old could have done that’ or ‘how is that art?’ Yet the work is featured in busy galleries and admired by many people, albeit people with a different taste to you.
Conversely, many an entrepreneur has come up with a new business idea and often gone ahead and produced it, only to discover that the marketplace has no use for or interest in it; they failed to do their market research and look at marketplace demand upfront.
We must remember that our creativity should have a value in the context that it is intended for.
Developing your creativity skills is a great asset to any leader as it allows for greater flexibility, new and improved ways of doing things and, of course, the birth of new products and services.
So how do we hone our creativity?
Firstly, commit to the process; we all have creative skills within us but not all of us commit to having them manifest into something tangible, which can take time and effort. Set yourself some goals – what do you want to achieve, who can help you?
Secondly, be curious – your mind is most creative when it’s in flow and open to exploring new ideas and possibilities. Even if you are an expert in your area, continue to learn and this will help to enhance your creative abilities.
Also, it’s a good idea to learn in areas that are not directly related to your subject. For example you could look at how big clothing stores plan their marketing around seasons and suppliers and adopt a similar approach with online affiliate marketing – basing your promotions around the calendar and what will be most well received art different times of the year, for example.
Thirdly, combat your fear of failure. You will unlikely get it completely right first time. Allow yourself and your creative endeavours to be a work in progress.
Fourthly, just start. Whatever you are creating, stop procrastinating and just take the first steps. The vast majority of authors claim that they combat writer’s block by just putting pen to paper and making a start. Once they start writing, without any pressure to be good, they get into the flow of it and find it surprisingly easy to continue and produce pages of good work.
Use some tools and tricks that work for you. For example, you could set a clock for an hour to focus on your creative endeavour and focus on that only. You could take a walk for 20 minutes to get the creative juices flowing and oxygen to the brain. Try using a mind map or flowcharts or writing lists of ideas. Once you find something that seems to foster your creativity, use it again.
What do you do to get into a creative mode? Do you have any tips that you can share? Leave a comment or question below.