Stop Treating Creativity as an Option

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Turning creativity into money.

That’s how I sometimes described my job as the Executive Producer of a hit comedy TV show in Seattle.

Turning creativity into money.

See, our job, week after week, was to be creative—on demand. BUT, that creativity had to lead to profit. If what we created—jokes, comedy sketches, parodies—didn’t draw an audience that advertisers would pay to reach, our creativity would have gone nowhere (and our careers would have quickly followed). But we did draw that audience, and the station made a healthy profit. And it all began with our creativity.

Our creativity was the engine that powered the profits.

#Creativity is the engine that powers profits. Click To Tweet


But this doesn’t apply just to comedy TV shows. It applies to your business as well. (Of course, there may be times when you think your business is a comedy TV show—but that’s an entirely different issue.)

In 2010, a survey of more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide concluded that creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business. That being the case, why is it that so many leaders refuse to invest time, money, and/or energy into improving their own creativity and that of their teams? (Not you, of course. It’s the others.) Why won’t they invest in the “most important leadership quality for success in business”?

I think it’s because when they think of “creativity,” they form a picture in their minds of hippies in headbands going off into the woods and juggling beanbags while singing about “possibility.”

With this picture (or one like it) firmly in mind, they then say, “We’re not going to have any of that foolishness around here!” and go off and hire yet another sales trainer.

They just don’t seem to get that the road to profits begins with creativity.

The road to profits begins with #creativity. Click To Tweet

Here’s the sequence: CREATIVITY leads to INNOVATION which leads to NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES which leads to PROFITS.

Leaders: This is how you stay in business!

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire the occasional sales trainer. But without continuous creativity, you won’t have anything to sell!

EVERY product, EVERY service that ever made a dollar (or a million, or a billion, dollars) began with a creative idea.

Kill your creativity, kill your business. Grow your creativity, grow your business.

Kill your #creativity, kill your #business. Grow your #creativity, grow your #business. Click To Tweet

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Creativity is not a soft skill. Creativity is not an expendable option. Creativity is not a frivolous game.

Creativity is the most important leadership quality for success in business. Start treating it that way.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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