QUICK QUIZ: Which assignment do you think a creative person would like more:
- Write a story about anything.
- Write a story about a duck.
If you’re like most people (which, of course, you’re not—you’re better), you said Assignment 1. It’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean, creativity is all about freedom, no restraints, “Don’t box me in, man!” Right?
The surprising, non-intuitive truth is that the vast majority of creative people would prefer Assignment 2: Write a story about a duck.
Now, why is this? And ... Continue Reading →
I recently read an interview with Marija Ringwelsky, the co-founder and COO of Remedy, a company that helps protect people from medical overcharges and billing errors. In it, Ms. Ringwelsky said:
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“While I thought leadership was about influence and control, starting Remedy has taught me that leadership is quite the opposite—it’s about finding great people who share common values and a shared sense of purpose and counter-intuitively relinquishing control. If you’ve done your job right, the people on your ...
“You guys are better than Saturday Night Live!”
I used to hear that all the time. I still do, although now “are” has changed to “were.”
For 15 years, I was the Executive Producer of a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle called Almost Live!. We were on the NBC affiliate, KING-TV, and for our final 10 years, we aired at 11:30 on Saturday night (we pushed SNL back a half-hour; they aired from midnight to 1:30 am in the Seattle market). ... Continue Reading →
In my new TEDx Talk, I talk a lot about dots. Dots, dots, dots. Why would I waste so much of my precious 18 minutes talking about dots?
Because dots are the building blocks of creativity, and creativity is an essential trait of a great leader.
It all begins and ends with this one, simple point: Creativity is all about connecting dots.
So what are these dots? Anything and everything. Experiences. Ideas. People. Something you read. Someplace you visit. Someone ... Continue Reading →
A friend of mine has a cat that she affectionately refers to as her “barnacle,” because he’s always there. Wherever she goes, there he is. The kitchen, the living room, the office, on the stairs—he is constantly underfoot. Sometimes literally.
That’s kind of endearing in a cat. Not so much in a boss.
Nobody wants to have the boss constantly hovering around, looking over their shoulders, meowing for food (or the boss equivalent). In fact, here’s how to make your team hate ... Continue Reading →
John Wooden. Nelson Mandela. Richard Branson. Abraham Lincoln.
Great leaders, all of them. Their words and actions inspired and motivated thousands upon thousands of people.
But probably not you. At least, not directly.
You never met Abraham Lincoln. (And, if you did, you need to contact the Guiness Book of World Records people immediately.) And, although I may not know you personally, I’m guessing that you’ve never had any of the other three on your speed dial either.
Sure, you’ve read their words and ... Continue Reading →
Your next great idea will not come to you out of thin air.
I can say this with near 100% certainty because that’s not how ideas work. That breakthrough idea—the one that will make you rich and famous by Thursday—will not be created in a vacuum. More likely, it’ll be the result of a collision. A collision of dots.
Let me explain. Creativity (which is simply the process of coming up with ideas) is all about connecting dots. These dots can be ... Continue Reading →
Quick Quiz: What do the following have in common?
- The iPhone
- The Tesla Model S
- The self-cleaning litter box
- The Sputnik 1 satellite
Answer: They were all the product of a creative idea. As was every single other breakthrough that made a million dollars, cured a disease, or changed the world.
They all came from a creative idea.
Every company that exists—or that ever existed—originated with a creative idea.
Every billionaire on the Forbes 400 list is there because of a creative idea. (Sometimes that creative ... Continue Reading →
I spent several hours yesterday helping a colleague (whom I’ll call Poppy, because it’s fun) rewrite her website. She was concerned—rightly so—that her site was too wordy, didn’t really capture who she was, and just plain didn’t pop. (This is especially important when you’re named Poppy. Which she is not. But, for the purposes of this article, she is. So there.) So we spent several hours rewriting, revamping, and revising—after which we had a delightful Italian dinner.
Now, I’m not a ... Continue Reading →
There’s nothing quite like seeing a world-class team operating at the highest level, is there? For example, let’s take Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The video below shows Bruce (“The Boss”) and his team working out an audience-requested song—not one of Bruce’s—live, in front of 45,000 people. Watch the entire video (it’s about 8 minutes—and turn it up as loud as you can!), and then read on for my thoughts on how what “The Boss” does with his ... Continue Reading →