Not at work, for most people. While recruiting ads and employee communications are often sprinkled with “come create here” messages, the truth is that most of the working force feels more pressure to be productive at work than to be creative.
Still others won’t even let themselves think about where they meet their best ideas, because they self-edit, “I’m not the creative type” or let the clock suppress their imagination with self-limiting beliefs such as, “I don’t have time to be creative”.
Through my work with executive leadership teams, never have I been asked to help a senior team work harder, yet these same teams are often looking for space and methods to think differently and more creatively.
Satirical writer, poet, and critic Dorothy Parker, known for her sharp humor and wit said, “Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”
With Dorothy’s insights in mind, my suggestion to entrepreneurs, founders and senior leaders is structure a more disciplined eye, which is not overlooking ideas that come to them during non-working moments. For me, this means:
-keeping pocket-sized moleskin notebooks in the glove compartment, my gym bag and bike backpack.
-having a clip board within an arms-reach during my morning stretches and exercises.
-leaving a pen near the bed so I can fill the margins and back book pages with ideas that I generate during evening reading.
-creating a sideboard note section while attending conferences.
-recording innovative ideas and creative threads on my iPhone while on walks.
When teams and groups recognize that they need to shift from a production mode to a creative mode, remind everyone that exposure to diverse ideas, staying curious and being supportive helps elevate creativity. This means structuring smaller breakouts during leadership sessions to create parallel creativity pods, more deliberate use of questions and simply creating silence to think, which is not common in most executive teams!
And when all else fails, simply send everyone off to take a shower, says Scott Barry Kaufman, cognitive scientist, and coauthor of “Wired to Create” who did a study that showed 72% of people get creative ideas in the shower. In any case, I will be mounting a water-proof marker set in my shower to ensure I record the ideas I meet there.
How do you, as a leader, and as a leadership team, ensure that you are staying competitive and creating value through the way you meet your best ideas?
Image by Zane Persaud @ Unsplash