The world has become increasingly busy. Digital technologies and shifting attitudes to work/life balance has meant we can feel like we are plugged in 24/7. In just over a decade entire industries have been disrupted online leading to visible changes offline, e.g. the demise of the high street. At no period in history has so much change happened in such a short amount of time. Depending upon your perspective, this can either give you chills at an unknown future or get you excited about the world of opportunity ahead of you. Either way, your skills as a leader will be tested. The good news is with a little creativity and some stable leadership, you and your organisation can ride the waves, and with the right strategy, become better for it.
I'd love to be able to tell you a clear roadmap of what the next few years will look like. The truth is there are no robust models how things will turn out, and no definitive prediction for how digital will change things in the future, or what the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics will have either. All we do know is these things will create change - so we have to be prepared for an unknown future. That means how adaptable leaders are in their approach to embracing change will make them a pioneer in their own right. In other words, there is no wrong or right, only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: You can't risk standing still for too long. This all means that the modern leader needs to be adaptable, agile and can take a different perspective - hence the title of this blog post - that's because all of these traits fundamental to creativity.
Venturing into uncharted territory is often at the heart of having a creative mindset. Creativity isn't about knowing what all the answers are, it's about exploring the options and being open-minded about where these will take you. Along with having roles in the past as a Creative Strategy Director, I am also an artist outside of my professional career (for example, I recently painted a portrait of the current British Prime Minister, Theresa May, which she signed). In my combined experiences professionally and as an artist, I have learned that creativity is about taking risks but also requires a clear vision of a final outcome. A blank canvas can be scary, but it also allows for exploring the art of the possible. This is the same in business leadership - even if you are not 100% sure how you will get there at first, try to be sure what you want the outcome to be. Creativity can often tap into what we really want and provides freedom to explore all the options available to you. This includes embracing failures and learning from them.
Being creative also requires confidence. A trait that is essential as a leader, even if you don't always feel it inside. That's why having the right people around you is vital. Creative leaders are those who think ahead of the current trends and anticipate future problems well in advance.
It's a bit of a cliche to say modern leaders need to think outside of the box, but it is a true statement. Creativity forces you to think differently, and in an era where it could be argued every business is just as clueless as the next when it comes to the future– we need leaders who can adapt to change. The question you need to ask yourself is: Are you open to change or do you fear it? The answer to this question will help you get an immediate sense of your level of creativity.
If the answer is no, and you are reading this with a sinking feeling or doubting if you are the creative type. Don't worry. Fortunately, creativity in leadership can be taught. That's because it's not about a particular skill or talent, it's merely about a mindset and openness. In fact, an awful lot of creativity is about a process. So while the terminology around creativity and risk can feel scary at first, once you open yourself up to new possibilities you will be amazed how much clearer you are about decision making. In many ways, creativity in leadership is the simple consideration of all options available to you - which ultimately means you can focus on making the right decisions at the right time. A creative mindset also means you are open to being wrong too. So when it does come to making decisions, you are open to changing your mind to make sure you are achieving your original vision. Or, to paraphrase a famous quote: "You can't always make the right decision, but you should always try to make that decision right".
If you would like to find out how we can support you with any of the topics raised in this blog post, including exploring how to embrace creativity in your leadership, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0800 0293739.