Leadership for Life – Getting Creative

By on December 17, 2012
Getting Creative

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

One of the things great – and memorable – leaders do is inspire others to greatness. Sometimes that means taking a back seat and allowing others to get the credit, but that’s OK, since the measure of a leader’s effectiveness is how well the organization is doing as a whole, not necessarily who’s responsible for individual acts of “terrific-ness.”

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, when you want to know how to improve a process or a product, ask the people who are directly involved in producing that product or running that process. Sometimes it takes a while to come up with useful solutions, and you never know where the inspiration is going to come from. While it’s possible, but rare, for a great idea to come from a moment of “aha-ness” while falling off to sleep, most often a great idea or the solution to a problem evolves from a discussion (talking, screaming, pulling hair, eating junk food) with a work team.

When you’re looking for creativity, it helps to ask those whose job it is to be creative. Early in the war on terror, there was a rumor that a bunch of mystery/science fiction writers were rounded up (asked nicely, more likely) by the government to come up with a variety of terror scenarios and responses so that the government (CIA, FBI, et al) could work on solutions in advance. I thought that was a great idea. I never did hear about the results of that experiment, but I presume that whatever they came up with (assuming the rumor was true) is classified “top-secret.”

Recently, I came across an article in the NY Times that illustrates how inspiration and creativity can come about:

“When you hit a wall in the room, keep everyone together banging their heads against it. It’ll give way eventually.”
– Glenn Mazzara, Show Runner, The Walking Dead

The underlying lesson to be learned here is that being creative is hard work. It takes persistence and a willingness to fail – early and often. From the same article in the NY Times, comes another quote from Simon Rich, author of Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories. Referring to John Starks, the legendary NY Knicks basketball player:

“If you shoot enough 3’s, some will eventually somehow go in.”

Great leaders keep shooting 3’s, and encourage others to do the same.

My colleague Lou Gerst and I are working on putting together a program on creativity and innovation. If you’re looking for inspiration, stop banging your head against the wall, and call for more information: 314-539-5329, or email me at bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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