Believe You Are Creative?

“Creativity is as much about the ability to come up with ideas as it is about the courage to act on those ideas. He calls it creative confidence” -Tom Kelley

Do you consider yourself creative? Many people do not consider themselves as being creative. Typically, you hear “I’m just not creative,” or “I can’t do that”, or “I’m not good enough to do anything like that.”

Believing you are creative begin with you being a leader to take charge of your creativity. This is where you begin showing others that you can be creative and be a leader in generating and creating business breakthrough results.

The problem lies somewhere in your past where you were creative at one time, and then because some told you, “That does look anything like what you said”, you took it personally and stopped being creative. Gordon McKenzie, a former Hallmark Creative Director, went to each grade in schools and noticed the wonderful art work. He asked the magic question to “How many artists are there in the room.”  “Please raise your hands.”

The responses were very telling. In kindergarten and first grade class rooms, every student threw their hand up in the air. In kindergarten, everybody was an artist, two-handed artists: “Me! Me! Me! I’m an artist!”

In second grade classrooms, about three-fourths raised their hands in response. In third grade, only a few students help up their hands, some very timidly. So it went each grade a little worse than the one before it until he finally reached sixth grade. In response to Gordon’s question, most students looked around to see if anyone would admit to being an artist, as if such an admission was a violation of group norms.

In the span of Kindergarten to sixth grade, students had un-learned their naturally tendency to be an “artist.” Why?

The question to you right now is, Are You Creative? In reality, everyone is creative in one way or another. Because you have not been creative or don’t think of yourself as being creative, let’s think for a few minutes.

At home when situations take place, how do you handle them? If you think first about what to do, you are being creative. When problems, challenges and difficulties take place in the workplace, do you react with “Who knows how to solve this?” Or do you think first before reacting or responding. By giving up, you let others know you are not creative.

Instead, most likely you think about how to deal with the situation the best way you know how. Sometimes this is the creative way to actually solve the situation. If you don’t use your creative muscles, your creativity will not be there when you need it most.

“Creativity is contingent on willingness to be judged. At some point, many people lose that. –Tom Kelley

Making Mistakes– If you work for a creative and innovative organization, it’s okay to make mistakes. As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistakes again, you are fine.

Be Curious about Everything. Essentially be aware of the things around you. What triggers an idea for you to work on?

Start looking at things from a different perspective. This view may give you an idea to work on something you wanted to do. It may even if it takes you to do something different without feeling uncomfortable. For example, go to your favorite restaurant and order something different from the menu, or go to a different restaurant. Take a different route to get to work.

“What is the biggest obstacle to creativity? Attachment to outcome. As soon as you become attached to a specific outcome, you feel compelled to control and manipulate what you’re doing and in the process you shut yourself off to other possibilities. Creativity is not just about succeeding. It’s about experimenting and discovering.”

― Gordon McKenzie

Believe you are creative. Studies show we’re all capable of creative genius, you just need to recognize — and hone in on your abilities. Your leadership skills and talent is demonstrated as you use your creative skills and talent to become the “Go-to-Person” in your organization.

Changing for Creativity Sake

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

Looking at a problem as an opportunity for change and improvement is probably what you deal with every day in your work. How you arrive at the best solution is where the challenge comes into play. In doing so, you need to think differently for each problem, challenge and difficulty that comes your way.

Changing the way you persuade others to change to take a risk in being creative and innovative can help them turn problems into opportunities. Yes, there are some specific factors that go along with this change. We all have to face one situation, no matter how difficult and uncomfortable most people hate and that is to be creative you have to change the way you do things.

Working as a collaborative team, your employees need to be treated as entrepreneurs. This means allowing them to generate and create ideas, brainstorm ideas and discuss problems with each other instead of waiting for a supervisor or manager. These individuals are also able to use their untapped hidden strengths, skills and talent for greater breakthrough results.

Some of the ways change within your organization helps you to thrive beyond survival mode include the following.

Break from the Pack

To sustain competitive advantage in today’s economy, companies must break from the pack. The saying goes that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, instead blaze your own trail of creating something you can call your own.

Actively work to change conventional wisdom when facing new challenging situations. Don’t settle for incremental thinking.

Creative Thinkers

You face problems, challenges difficulties every day. Solve these issues using the best you do. The best problem solvers see a complex problem through multiple lenses. In creative thinking, nearly all problems have multiple solutions.

Being open-minded, thinking beyond both inside and outside the box, and generating ideas that include empathy of your customer is where you need to shift your organization toward. This helps you thrive beyond survival mode and that takes you to the next level of your business success.

Engage Mavericks

Mavericks are the independent innovators or performers. They are critical thinkers who view things differently. Many are found within organizations, fighting to bring innovation into corporate cultures that are not always receptive. They bristle at routines and work differently than others that is why they prefer working alone or being in charge of others.

Mavericks are those who never settle for the status quo, are also creative disruptors: disruptors challenge assumptions, beliefs and question conventional ways of doing things.

In the past, your job was to do what you were told.  You followed instructions, routinely did the same work every day and didn’t make waves.  Today things are very different.

Underneath it all, everyone is creative. Organizations need to let the creativity of their employees shine through. This will generate and create various ideas for organizations to build on your business will see higher levels of creativity. From this, your disengaged employees will become more satisfied and engaged because they will input their ideas. These creative visionaries whose ideas shape new products and services help change the way consumers view the technological trends now and into the future.

“Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity.” – Joseph Sugarman

Bringing Out the Innovator in Your Employees

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

Steve Jobs (founder of Apple)

Creating a unique company needs a creative and innovative leader at the helm. Having the courage and self-confidence, innovative leaders know how to bring out their employee’s best strengths, skills and talent to generate, create and produce business breakthrough results. An innovation leadership revolution has been brewing for some time.

Leaders are accountable to assemble teams and lead them to optimal performance outcomes.  An effective leader recognizes the importance of embracing differences in people and knows how to connect the dots amongst those differences to get the best outcomes from the team.

Bringing out the best in your people is the essence of your effective leadership and how your employees prefer working with you than any other employer. Beyond this, your employees generate, create and produce their best results as their way of saying “thanks”.

The word “innovation” most people think of as extraordinary breakthrough inventions created by solitary geniuses. Yet, businesses today are the opposite of this and thrive by the collaboration of a free exchange of ideas by others

“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”— Steve Jobs

Leaders are accountable to assemble teams and lead them to optimal performance outcomes.  An effective leader recognizes the importance of embracing differences in people and knows how to connect the dots amongst those differences to get the best outcomes from the team. Innovative leaders break from tradition and prefer more non-traditional or unconventional ways of getting this done.

Guiding your team of employees with your knowledge, vision and ideas, you know how to achieve what you set out to do. How you develop your employees has a lot to do with your leadership style as well as your trust in your employees. This trust extends to allow your employees to generate ideas and create those ideas for an innovative business breakthrough for your clients and customers.

Embrace the Challenge

Innovative leaders do not delegate creativity and innovation; they lead it. And innovative leaders cultivate a culture of critical and creative thinking that takes on challenges.

The stimulus for new ideas comes from being forced to focus on solving a problem. Enable people to solve their own problems.

One way to activate the creativity of employees is to develop an environment where problem-solving is encouraged. We are all inclined to innovate and problem-solve, so empowering employees to see the workplace shows the confidence they need to bring new ideas to the table.

Engaged Employees

“Great leaders of innovation . . . see their role not as take-charge direction setters,

but as creators of a context in which others make innovation happen.”–Jane Porter

Innovative leaders know how to engage employees to be interested and focused on the work their need to accomplish. Employees are much more satisfied in the work they do with having a leader who is innovative.

Innovative leaders treat their employees as entrepreneurs. They also roll up their sleeves and sometimes work side-by-side with their teams in completing specific projects they are interested in.

Stretch Goals

Innovative leaders get people to use stretch goals to achieve, what may seem impossible. Setting stretch goals can help your team to challenge the status quo, question ways of working and look to create new processes that help you to reach goals that might not seem achievable right now.

An innovative leader is great at setting stretch goals – because these are the goals that will help you realize the impossible.

“Failure is an option. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

Leaders must foster a commitment from the team to embrace an innovation mindset where each employee learns to apply the differences that exist in one another for their own success and that of the organization.

Leading Creative Leaders

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

Every company has creative people. Creativity has always been at the center of business. As more companies adopt a culture of open innovation a new style of leadership is emerging. Collaborative leaders take a more open approach in the workplace.

When given the power to do so, each person is not just a leader, they are creative as well. Most employers have employees who underneath it all are creative with several ideas for what they do. Most organizations want the ideas generated to come from the top of the company.

Much of your company’s success depends on ideas that keep you on the cutting edge. According to management experts, leading a team of creative employees needs to be more of an empowered and inspired management style. Creative people do not need managers, they need leaders. These individuals are capable of coming up with new formulas, new technologies, or new processes that change the game.

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.”

 ~Malcolm Gladwell

Leading creative employees who are actually creative leaders help organizations stay creative and innovative. This is of course only when the company leaders allow this to take place. Yet, more and more businesses and organizations are shifting their strategies to become creative and innovative. For example, organizations who want to thrive beyond survival mode are hiring people who are creative and innovative. No longer are they just looking for “ordinary” employees just to fill a vacancy.

Leading creative people is one of the most challenging skills for executives but for many businesses this is a critical success factor. The basic tension that leaders of creative people have to be able to manage is between exercising management control and creating a culture which allows creative people to flourish and go beyond expectation.

According to Chris Grivas, principal of Chris Grivas Consulting and co-author of The Innovative Team, “the best way learning leaders can teach creativity is to model it.”

These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise.  These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. Creative people are different. They deliver new ideas and approaches, but they come with their quirks. You can’t lead creative employees like you lead “normal” or ordinary employees.

What if you allowed your employees to generate ideas? After all, your employees are the ones who create and produce these ideas for the company they work for.  Creative individuals prefer to work without running to a supervisor or manager every time a decision needs to be made, are self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught.

Tell your employees what to do, but not how to do it. You can still hold them accountable for the results, but don’t force them to embrace a certain process.

Ask Your Employees for their Input: If you ask, you need to consider their input. If you’re not really going to use their input, it’s better not to even ask.

In some organizations, the executives of the company would not accept any of the input from their employees and found that many left to work for their competitors.

If you want to build an innovative company, you need to find employees who think both inside and outside the box.

Know that they’ll be emotionally attached to what they create. So, if you decide not to use their creation, you’ll have to process that appropriately and not abruptly.

You need to give them a deadline, but it better be reasonable. Creative people need room to dream and let their ideas percolate.

Motivate them with praise. They’ll react when the extrinsic rewards are taken away, but they’re really intrinsically motivated. If you ignore creative employees, they may stop contributing. Some even leave to work for the competition.

They’ll get easily bored if they find themselves stuck in the routine. They need the freedom to take on new challenges and opportunities and hate to get stuck in maintenance mode.

They deliver new ideas, but they dread the details.

They need a creative and participative environment. Creative people need the fuel that other creative people generate.

When leading creative people, keep in mind that they may–

  • Think they know more than anyone (or know everything)
  • Do not want to be led (know what, how and why)
  • Do not want to follow the process.

Leading creative people require smart leadership.  Smart leaders help creative employees contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish.

Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss.  (Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve.  These creative people can contribute beyond expectations.)

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making

mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook


Expressing Your Creativity Independent of Others

Some people express their creativity through art, photography, poetry, writing, dance, cooking, making things with their hands, etc. The world seems to be divided into “creative” and “non-creative” types, and too many people resign themselves to the latter category. (Facing the scary paths on our life & leadership journey)- re-Work Under Title

David Kelley, the founder of the design firm IDEO and a professor at Stanford University, says that “Creative confidence is the natural human ability to come up with breakthrough ideas and the courage to act on them.” Self-efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome. Innovation is an economic imperative that calls for more people to be innovating, more often.

“You are creative. All you need to do is find ways to express to express your creativity.”

-Lorrin L. Lee

Most people do not express themselves through their creativity because of getting criticized or judged by others. Some even do not want to show or experience failure as it is an embarrassment to them. Too many people are afraid of failure, when in reality it is through failure that one eventually achieves success and breakthrough. “Fear of failure” from childhood that has been in your thought patterns not just holds you back from doing things you want to do or try, it also holds you back from thinking creatively or on an innovative basis.

Real creative and innovative types sometimes want these things to take place as it lets them know of how they can improve what they are working on. “The inescapable link between failure & innovation is a lesson you can only learn through doing.” – David & Tom Kelley

Creativity is within each of us. Oh, yes, it is especially buried by the routine work you do on a daily basis. Interestingly, sometimes the spark of creativity is dimmed by criticisms, work obligations you do or just simple neglect.

Expressing your thinking when you create an idea or produce a breakthrough result demonstrates thinking inside-and/or-outside-the-box. The difficulty here is that many people, when as a child you were criticized for the creativity you were trying to produce. This can get ingrained into you and continue into adulthood.

Creative Confidence

Too many adults lost their creativity as a child and moved on to other things away from being creative. This gap from childhood to adulthood has a lot of adults cringing when it comes to talking about unconventional ways to move a business forward for greater success.

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments
Guided Mastery of Creative Confidence

Guided mastery is the process of overcoming your fears through a series of small steps. In learning how to get your creativity back, creative confidence helps you with four independent processes or steps you can work through. These include:

Reclaim Your Creative Confidence: David and Tom Kelley “The world seems to divide into ‘creatives’ and ‘noncreatives,’ and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.”

Break challenges down into small steps and then build confidence by succeeding on one after another. The process may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but the discomfort quickly fades away and is replaced with new confidence and capabilities.

To regain creative confidence, here are 4 strategies for getting you past your fears that can hold you back from showing your creative independence.

Fear of the Messy Unknown

Being creative in problem solving involves creating an environment where people can generate ideas without fear of criticism. In brainstorm sessions, no idea is a bad idea. You want to generate as many ideas as possible.

Fear of Being Judged

In being creative and innovative, you just may get people to criticize or judge your ideas. This can be a good thing as they may actually be giving you some food for thought to improve on your ideas. Do not always take criticism or judgment as being negative. Good feedback can be more helpful to what you want to do than not at all.

Fear of the First Step

Who hasn’t sat staring at a blank computer screen or a blank piece of paper in front of you, unable to take the first step on a project? Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning. Once you get started, your ideas will begin to flow.

Fear of Losing Control

You need other people to help spur your thinking, test your ideas and to give you feedback. Involving others does mean letting go of at least some control.

Broaden Your Perspective

A little confidence in creativity leads to a lot of confidence in everything else.

There are no rules.

Don’t judge your thoughts.

If you’re stuck, take a break.

There will never be “wrong” art. It may not turn out the way you want it to, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Develop Reciprocal Trust

Trust your co-workers even when they criticize or judge your ideas. They may actually be giving you some food for thought to improve your idea.

The world needs more creative leaders who are not afraid or fearful of creativity. How do you react with creativity through your employees? Being independent when you express your ideas to your employees or co-workers can say a lot about you.

Is it time for you to create your own independence and re-gain your creative side for you to thrive?

Pushing the Envelope to Create Breakthrough Innovations

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston S. Churchill

Taken to mean different things to different people, “Pushing the Envelope” no matter what doing your best means you. Radical innovations sometimes called “Breakthroughs”, is what may need to happen in your workplace. With each of your employees having their own ideas and thoughts on being creative and on innovating what they see, the shift in the workplace is to motivate better than before to get everyone on-board and engaged.

“To push the edge of the envelope”, “pushing the outside of the envelope” are both statements to motivate you and your employee’s to use strengths, skills and talent to generate your best ideas, create those ideas and produce them as great breakthrough results. Organizations that have succeeded have done so not by following the rules of conventional wisdom, but by breaking them.

“If you think you’ve already made it, that’s when you can fall short and go backwards. I’m constantly pushing forward and chasing the element of perfection.”
-Jason Derulo

Innovating the Way

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”

Opportunity would be lost if the package simply restored things as they were. Creating new ways of doing business, you need a combination of aligning your people with processes and systems that are not the old ways.

Innovation is concerned with bringing something new into being to meet an unmet need. It provides value where previously little to any was being delivered. If there was an easy way to innovate in everyone would be doing it already. Rather, everyone has their own specific steps or formula they use to generate, create and produce their ideas into breakthrough results.

Raising the Bar

Whether you are an employee or employer, raising the bar for projects to be worked on helps challenge what you do. Expecting your employees to create and produce greater results than “ordinary” employees helps move your business to the next level of success. Your employees get to use their strengths, skills and talent to their potential.

Empower smart people who push the envelope within the boundaries of your core values. Involve everyone in idea generation. Don’t create two classes of organizational citizens, those who can think and those who do. Allow everyone to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Innovation and ideation is pointless without buy-in and support from top management. What about getting buy-in from your employees- the people who generate ideas, create and produce the work?

Work only on ideas that can move the needle of the company’s bottom line. This is where you most likely set the bar so high that no new idea can actually pass. Sustained innovation is never the result of following the conventional rules, but of breaking them. Embrace a strategic approach to identifying, encouraging and executing on innovative ideas, breakthrough products are born.

Explore the Wide Range of Possible Solutions

Develop some core solution ideas and prioritize them to work on to increase your chance of success. Some of the most productive corporations get this. Encourage your employees to spend 10-20% of their working time on their own projects. Even every combination you use can be a possible solution for the problem, challenge or difficulty you encounter. Don’t generate more product ideas than our company can develop.

As Joyce Wycoff, founder of the Innovation Network said, “Most organizations are still trying to figure out how to do innovation the simplest way possible.”

For a leader wanting to increase innovation in and from their return on investment is important but it is not the first measure of success. It requires patience, persistence and thinking about innovation for the long-term.


Empowering Employees to Create Business Breakthroughs

“If it were easy to empower employees, everyone would do it.”

-Kevin Daum

Since it is your employees who work on the tasks/projects/assignments of generating ideas, creating those ideas and then producing the ideas as breakthrough results, doesn’t it make sense to empower them? You u hired smart people, now help them do what you pay them.

By leading your employees to generate, create and produce the breakthrough results you need and want for your business to thrive, how will you help them move forward? Give them the power to control, decide and generate the work results the way they do best.

The leadership challenge here is that not all leaders have the skills or training, time or focus to create an environment of empowerment. For a leader to want higher performance and breakthrough the previous ways of getting business done, you need to create the workplace that will bring out the best in your employees. This sometimes means “hands-on” approach in working side-by-side with your employees to help them go in the right direction.

Having the support from the top down is most important when empowering employees. This is not to say that employees have carte blanche to do what they want. Leaders give their instructions of what needs to be achieved. The employees then generate and create how to get the job accomplished.

A Proactive Company Culture Drives Employee Initiative

With a vision and a goal, leaders develop their employees to be proactive in establishing new ways to reach not just their end-goal, but also authorizing teams to make decisions. If they don’t take the initiative by seeking out new projects and looking for opportunities to share their ideas and suggestions, an organization can become ensnared in old ways of doing things.

When this proactive culture is missing, employees’ ideas and actions are often met with criticism or dismissal, and they may stop trying to come up with new and better ways to do things. They become disengaged

Encourage Safe Failure

Many leaders and organizations are risk-adverse. Those leaders who allow their employees to fail expect this and encourage failure to take place in order for employees to experience the thrill of the challenge. On top of this, employees will gain understanding and feel comfortable innovating the results they produce.

Taking a Different Point of View

According to Kinicki & Kreitner, empowerment is about giving employees the permission to give customers priority and to use their creative talents to find solutions when issues arise. Empower employees to make a difference.  Change conventional wisdom and status quo not to exist in your workplace.

Challenge your employee’s assumptions, beliefs and thoughts. For leaders to empower employees, these individuals become great innovators who do not take the traditional view and develop existing ideas. They take an entirely different view and use it to their advantage for generating and creating great results.

Self-Motivated Team

Having engaged, empowered, enthusiastic employees, you as leader provide the tools, encouragement and authority enabling them to use their strengths, skills and talent effectively to do their best.

Empowering employees to increase their satisfaction and the organization’s performance will require a greater amount of communication than ever thought possible

Create an Environment that Celebrates Both Successes and Failures

Don’t just celebrate the successes, celebrate the employees who took a risk but maybe didn’t obtain the results intended but learned valuable lessons themselves and for the company.

All of these combined helps leaders help their employees become more empowered to become more engaged in their work. By empowering your employees, they get to interact more with other employees who can help when employees hit an obstacle or when they get stuck on creating the results needed.

Your empowered employees get to make decisions to help your organization move forward to thrive beyond where you are right now. The best leaders are those who empower others. Empower means to put energy into something or someone. When we empower someone, we infuse him or her with our strength, support and acknowledgment to carry things forward.

By empowering employees, leaders understand that these individuals with generate, create and produce breakthrough results with cooperative and collaborative team work.

Beyond the Obvious to Create Breakthrough Results

Your success depends on the ability to generate ideas, create and produce those ideas that lead to innovations. Companies must know they cannot do things the way business was done in the past. They need to up their game and shift gears into thrive in order to move forward. Companies often struggle to see beyond their own world view.

One of the most profound challenges is that of driving innovative thought particularly in corporate environments. In order to generate great ideas then create and produce them, organizations need to change with regard to how business gets done. The following can help you move your organization to higher performance and get your employees more engaged in their work.

In changing to a different work style format, you may have some employees resist change. These are those who are not as engaged in their work as others. On the other hand, those who prefer to have a routine way of doing things and need structure with direction and instruction of what to do and in knowing how well they are doing as well.

Asking Questions

Approach your challenge to see things differently. Break-away from your past and begin to ask questions.  Learn to ask more “Why” or “What If” as various questions in order to probe beyond the surface for greater understanding and breakthrough curiosity.

Change Your Mindset

Having a “Growth” mindset helps you be open to possibilities and opportunities. By having a “growth” mindset, you learn to improve how you work and grow in the process.

On top of this, “Entrepreneurial” mindset shifts not just your thinking, but the work you generate ideas, create those ideas and produce those ideas. You actually begin to think more like an entrepreneur than an employee.

Empower Employees

To engage your employees, you need to empower them. This goes beyond having employees give input into the work they will be creating and producing. In doing so, you allow employees to also generate ideas, and discuss any obstacles, difficulties and challenges they encounter along the way to achieve their end-goal.

Thinking in Box Terms

When you think of creativity, you most likely think of the clique of “Think-Outside-the-Box”. Many people have not exhausted their “Thinking-Inside-the-Box” entirely. Yes, Thinking-Outside-the-Box will help you generate creativity.

I believe you need to combine both “Inside-the-Box-Thinking & Outside-the-Box Thinking in order to look at both the traditional or of what you have currently and how you can improve as you look Outside-the-Box. Combined they give you a greater result from all sides of the solution you are looking for.

Everyone typically has used the clique, “Think-Outside-the-Box. I believe you need to exhaust inside-the-box thinking and combine it with thinking-outside-the-box. This way you are able to think

Allow Time to Work on Own Creations

The scariest thing a leader can do is to give their people the freedom to make mistakes. While mistakes allow individuals to learn and grow, they can also be very costly to any company. As John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.”

“If we aren’t making mistakes, then we likely aren’t trying enough new things outside our comfort zone, and that itself is a mistake.”- Amy Rees Anderson

Just like many companies, 3M, Google did until 2013, and HP employees are allowed to explore their own projects- time for “unofficial” activity; that is set time to work on creative ideas.

When your employees take a break from work in the form of a vacation, many work on their own creative innovations.

Employees are given anywhere between 10- 25 percent of their workweek to generate their own ideas and create and produce them. Various companies do this to achieve generated ideas as well as to engage employees in what interests them.

On top of this, giving recognition to the employees for their contributions gives them higher self-confidence and

Generating and executing great ideas is the key to staying ahead in a rapidly changing world. It seems so basic. Why is it so hard to actually get right? Lead from beyond what’s possible—to achieve unprecedented results. That’s what’s needed, and what’s happening, to be successful in today’s business landscape.

Innovators have a tendency to think big. With this in mind, be open to possibilities, opportunities and this requires you to do things that are not routine. Start looking where you are and where you really want to be – and begin your journey.

interested in generating your ideas and creating them to achieve higher breakthrough performance, contact us at:, or call us at 602-405-2540.

External Thought Leaders Drive Innovation

“Leaders are responsible for the level of genuine excitement in their organization”

-Kouzes & Posner

The world’s top thought leaders share a similar idea for businesses to innovate from the “outside in”.  Companies that drive innovation internally begins with the leadership of the company,

The key to being a successful leader is leading by example and motivating your employees at the same time, inspiring them to follow.

Leaders Hesitate to Foster Creativity

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard

Companies often struggle to see beyond their own world view. Companies need breakthrough innovations more than ever. Incremental innovations are not enough to meet rising demands for organic growth, but many companies are poorly prepared to meet the challenge of breakthrough innovation.

Many leaders are too timid to launching more radical innovations than what their company is. Many companies underinvest in breakthrough projects because they are not skilled at assessing and managing the risks of such projects.

More needs to be done to foster a culture of innovation within businesses and leaders need to be the ones to not be afraid of taking calculated risks of moving forward for growth and greater performance from their employees. Change might be the big reason leaders do not want to be more creative or innovative. These changes start with leaders giving up power and empowering their employees to be more like entrepreneurs.

These entrepreneur-employees then will have more in-put into generating ideas, creating solutions and producing these ideas into breakthrough results. They get to use their hidden or untapped strengths, skills and talent while using their critical thinking skills. All of this is a big shift as leaders accept that their entrepreneur-employees change their mindset and are able to discuss their obstacles or barriers with their co-workers, leaving supervisors and managers to take care of other business.

Leaders Going Beyond the Traditional

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” -Tom Freston

A leader in this capacity takes on a lot of responsibilities in being a creative leader. Understanding what you have and what you need from your employees goes beyond the traditional. These include:

  • Original Thinking- Thinking on an unconventional basis for creative innovation.
  • Being Well Informed- Understanding the challenge and how to generate ideas to be created and produced.
  • Asking the Right Question- Knowing the questions to ask about the challenge and getting the support you need to get over the obstacles or barriers to move forward. These questions are thought-provoking to the point of being curious to learn more so they can become better at what they do.

Having the insight and vision is that of a thought leader. These individuals harness the power of connection to unleash their untapped or hidden potential. Their emotional connection to what they do comes from their passion.

“Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of a creative idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.” —Linda Naiman

Happy 2015 New Year: Breakthrough Success Plan

With the right business plan, 2015 could be your best year yet.

After the clock strikes 12 AM on December 31st to begin the New Year, the clock then tics into 2015. How are you going to move forward beyond your 2014 performance and goals? New opportunities await you. There are a limitless number of ways in which an individual, team or an entire organization can approach the innovation process. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula.

Every year millions of people put out their New Year’s resolutions just to break them before the month of January is over. For 2015, write down your resolutions and stick with them for moving your leadership and business forward.

Working On Your Business/Working in Your Business

Typically, breakthroughs take place due to a breakdown either with any of the following: Your People, Processes or Systems. Your specific policies and rules most likely need to be re-evaluated and changed for transforming your business from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”.

Ask yourself, “What’s Working, What’s Working Well, What’s Not Working, and What’s Working Very Well?” Here is where you need to start to evaluate your organization. From here re-assess your employees for their strengths, skills, and talent. Most if not all of your have the hidden talent they have not demonstrated because they are not empowered for engagement.


Gaining momentum starts by getting buy-in from all employees. Breakthroughs create shifts that put you in a greater state of consciousness. It can take place when you work at something for a specific period or when you find a new perspective from looking at the same situation.

Empowerment: Empower your employees and have them work with an “entrepreneurial” mindset. Give your employees some responsibilities that they will feel proud and take pride in. These include: (1) Enable your employees to make decisions without having them to go to their supervisor; (2) Involve your employees as they take responsibility toward improving the way things get done; and (3) Encourage your employees to take on more of an active role in the tasks they are completing. (At this same time, your managers will have more time to work on other matters regarding their skills, abilities, and talents).

Focus on the Impossible Being Possible

“Try improbable combinations, foster frequent brainstorming, & then take those new ideas, test them & put them to work.” – Paul Sloane

Achieving your goals is first and foremost to creating and producing the breakthrough results you want and need. In making the impossible possible, you demonstrate that your leadership can get done what needs to get done. Doing things you believe to be impossible is a constant theme in your organizational culture. Be the catalyst that impacts your organization and deliver results that challenge the impossible.

Challenge the Impossible and create the possibilities where you can produce the breakthrough results to move you beyond your expectation for success.

Integrate New Thinking into Your Business

Implementing a new way you do business is not just changing business strategies. It has a lot more to do with the mindset and critical thinking of your employees. This helps as your employees are able to create and produce breakthrough results from the ideas they generate. Your employees will be more engaged and satisfied in the work they do.

Set expectations that plan positive change as your company explores new challenges and opportunities. The essential ingredient to creating Breakthroughs in your business is to execute smart actions as soon as possible.

Harness Talent & Skills of Employees: The performance of your organization and its ability to achieve business goals relies on your valuable assets- your talent pool. Every employee has hidden talents that could take your company from good to great. Do you know your employees talents, or what your employees are capable of producing.

After talking with your employees and finding out their hidden skills, abilities and other talents, write it down and keep it handy as you may have specific tasks that can be assigned to those who can handle what you need accomplished. Take advantage of them and your employee and give recognition to them in the form of a reward (maybe it is time for them to be promoted).


As you close the book on 2014 with a fresh start to 2015, think about how you are going to move forward to the next level of your success. Are you going to begin the breakthrough results you have been waiting to start for some time? Are you going to do more of the same things of what you did last year and achieve approximately the same results? Think about if you want to survive or thrive beyond your expectation with taking calculated risks to breakthrough success.

As a useful business tool, New Year’s Resolutions can be very helpful. Do not wait for this time next year to look and see how the year went. If you are ambitious enough, make your preparations now. Get organized and make this year your most successful year yet. Give yourself the gift of creating and producing the breakthrough results you want and need to move forward.

Keeping with the New Year’s Resolution, my question to you is, “Why is the new year going to be different from last year? The key is to stick with them.