Are you stuck in a creative rut? Do you need an idea—now—but nothing’s coming? Don’t worry, your creativity is still there. Your brain is just taking a little “creativity catnap.” Here are a few ways to wake it up again and get those creative juices flowing.
Yesterday I was the closing keynoter for a conference of credit union leaders. One of the speakers who was on before me mentioned what was, to me, a startling statistic. He said that the average credit union CEO spends roughly 60% of his or her day just dealing with regulatory red tape. For the record (in case you’re not a credit union professional), this is not the best or most productive use of the CEO’s time. Which begs the question:
Leaders should be intelligent, right? I mean, it doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s kind of the ideal. We want our leaders—community, corporate, political—to be intelligent.
But what kind of intelligent?
There are some leaders who know everything there is to know about their industry. Other leaders have read dozens—maybe even hundreds—of books about leadership. Some leaders are particularly strong in emotional intelligenc
Imagine this: There’s a crisis looming in your business.
[You: “Why do you have to be so negative, Bill?”]
[Me: “Fair point. Let’s reset.”]
Imagine this: There’s an opportunity looming in your business. [You: “Thank you.”] And now you need your team to come up with creative ideas to best take advantage of this great opportunity. You want them to “think outside of the box.” You want them to “go wild!” You tell them, “Let your imaginations flow!” You expect magic.
Why are the people on the frontline such dullards? I mean, really, these people couldn’t come up with a creative idea if their jobs depended on it. Thank goodness you don’t expect too much from them, right? Because if God forbid, your business somehow depended on them for creativity, you’d be in serious trouble! Am I right?
No, I’m not right. I’m very, very wrong. And if the above paragraph sounds like either you or your business, you are very, very ...
Do you trust your team? I don’t mean “trust” in the sense of, “I trust that my team members won’t sell our company secrets to the Russians,” (although that might be kind of important, depending on your line of work). No, I mean “trust” in the sense of, “I trust my team members to do their jobs well.” So, with this sense of “trust” defined, let me ask you the same question—slightly amended:
Oh, to be the person who comes up with “the great idea”! Solar power! The artificial heart! Potato chips that stack in a can! Great ideas are everywhere, and yet they always seem to be the brainchild of somebody else. So how do you become one of those “somebodies”? How do you become the person who comes up with “the great idea”? Is there a secret to coming up with a great idea?
You’ve got a star performer in your organization. Let’s call her Amanda. Amanda is brilliant at her job. She’s so good, in fact, that you begin to think, “Amanda is fantastic! Imagine how valuable she’d be in management! Why I’ll bet she could turn her entire department around!”
So you promote Amanda to a leadership position. And you wait. And, slowly but surely, you watch as Amanda and her department start to die. (Figuratively speaking, of course. This isn’t that kind ...