Header Image - Nature is Creative...You Can Be Too

Blog

313 Articles

Leaders Surrounding Yourself with Big Thinkers

How Not to Surround Yourself with “Yes”-People

Can Conflict Make You A Better Leader?
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” -Warren Buffett

One of the most important decisions you make in life is who you choose to be around. Surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you is what you want in order to make greater decisions, work better with others and to understand the organization and your employees in how they may perceive what is needed.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, once said: “Surround yourself with people who complement your weaknesses and share your passions — success will follow.”
To stay grounded executives must prepare themselves to confront several vast complexities and pressure that you sometimes need to surround yourself with those who can help solve these problems. Here are some tips to help you generate thoughts and ideas to meet these challenges.

“A leader is someone who turns a great thought into an even greater action.” – Linda Poindexter

It is usually the first reaction to surround ourselves with those who completely agree with us. It feels great and of course, your self-esteem goes up. Then you have those people who actually disagree with you. There are those times when these same people give you the real answers you want even though it is tempting to want like-minded people to always agree with you. You need people who challenge your thinking and decision making to put perspective on what the actual issues are that need to be looked at carefully.

Surrounding yourself with big thinkers come in a variety of what you really want to do. Big thinkers are not “Yes” men or women. These people are creative challengers who generate, create and produce great ideas for breakthrough results. They add a little spice called details into their thoughts and opinions. It helps to have those around you who don’t always agree with you as you begin to see other perspectives for other new ideas to support what is possible and what is not.

What Drives You?
Every organization needs people with greater focus on the things that matter most. This talent helps to continually learn better and helps the organization perform at a higher level.

“Great leaders can see the greatness in others when they can’t see it themselves and lead them to their highest potential they don’t even know.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

I believe you need to diversify your circle of thinkers. For example if you are going to choose someone who is an extrovert, you should also choose an introvert. If you include someone who is logical then you should include someone who is more imaginative. Don’t just choose people who are like minded as they may

“Spend time with people who will challenge your thinking, your goals and your actions.” – Vanessa Shaw

Agreeable People Boost Your Confidence
You may interact with like-minded people yet you need to surround yourself with big thinkers for greater business results. Get feedback from others on a regular basis to help improve on the organization as well as your leadership. Gaining new perspectives from others allows you to explore what is said and possibly think of other possibilities. Leaders can benefit by hiring talented people who share their unique insights.

Develop Your Strength By Interacting with Other People
“Surround yourself with good people, then the important thing is to listen to them, and not let them know what you think before you ask them what they are thinking. Once they know what you think, most of the time they will just go along with it.” – J.W. “Bill” Marriott of Marriott International

Appoint challengers who are subversive and who have alternative points of view.

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” -John Wooden

Writer Susan Tardanico, lists various types of personality who can help provide different perspectives to the decision-makers:
•The Contrarian pushes you to think differently by taking opposite views and is always thinking of the worst-case scenario.
•The Everyman is plugged into the lower levels of the organization, helping you understand how your decisions affect them.
•The Optimist is a best-case scenario person, and provides positive energy during difficult times.
•The Bleeding Heart is the empathetic member of the group, making you aware of how your action affects people.
•The Sage is the strategic thinker and coach, helping you to stay calm in a crisis.

How do leaders ensure they have a mix of these people? Among other things, look through your list and identify the roles each plays with regard to the different types mentioned above.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Edmund Lee

Leading Your Company Forward During Difficult Times

“Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn’t fall there.” – Unknown

The old saying of “when the going gets tough the tough get going” could never be more appropriate for leaders during these extremely harrowing economic times. Hard or difficult times for many businesses today have a lot to do with the business complexity you deal with for gaining greater productivity.

Business leaders face many challenges each day. By leading your people to rally around a common cause, you need to inspire them. Getting ahead of the curve means taking a hard look at what the future might hold, and that requires a degree of courage on your part.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices: You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you.” ~Unknown

Old business models are experiencing tectonic shifts across all industries. Times are tough when your business is not doing as well as you expect. Great companies shine with leaders who take time to think of proactive steps. Usually more problems take place when you don’t think and you react.

Using Creativity to Move Forward

This can be a time when you change things in your organization. Such changes can take place as going from traditional way of doing business to looking at things from an unconventional perspective. Can you afford to keep going the way you’ve been conducting business? Or you may start to reduce complexity and increase simplification for greater productivity.

“If you can lead people through tough times, and show them a direction and give them something to believe in, you can certainly do it through good times,” says Darci Congrove, CPA, managing director at GBQ Partners LLC.

Challenges to Lead Your Company Forward

Challenges are a normal part of business — that’s a fact. No matter what your company faces- a slowdown in the economy, a merger or acquisition, complexity issues or even the death of a key executive, moving through any of these challenges in a specific manner can build strength. Finding opportunity sometimes results in greater decision making for greater priorities.

Think of a challenge as any type of different way you conduct business. This will impact your organization for greater results. Don’t let these differences stop you or your organization to grind to a halt to moving forward. You need to see the challenge not as a waste of time, instead as part of the process to the next level of breakthrough results.

The ways of doing business as usual has been changing. Previous structures, rules, processes and procedures are fading into the sunset to make way for the new normal of creativity and innovation. On top of this, technology sneaks in to give an extra push for greater breakthrough results.

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Instead of hiring new people as you did in the past, it is becoming required that new people know how to use their creative thinking skills. Before starting, these new people must demonstrate their skills by being interviewed with a team in a brainstorm session. By showing their abilities toward generating, creating and producing ideas needs leaders to give support and encouragement to keep moving forward.

 “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.”   – Unknown

Do you know what to do as a leader when you’re suddenly under fire? Confronting reality is difficult. Getting your entire organization on-board to work through the difficult time without letting things hold you back is challenging. Leaders need courage to not blindly charge ahead in the face of adversity.

Leaders Avoiding Disaster with Your Company’s Complexity

Every Disaster Is an Opportunity You Must Seize

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” -Brene Brown

With the inability to solve the ongoing projects due to not having enough time and running into obstacles at every turn, how can you as the leader help reduce these difficulties? Both managing or leading people and making sure complex and complicated situations don’t interfere with the daily operations of your business needs you to constantly observe your business daily.

Leaders need to show more composure than ever before in the workplace. Knowing the difference between complex and complicated impacts your business differently. Most people use these words interchangeably. If you’re a leader and you treat a complex problem like a complicated problem, you are setting up yourself and your company for failure.

Learn From Failure

“Learn to listen. Opportunity could be knocking at your door very softly.” -Anonymous

Too many leaders fail at change management efforts because you either don’t follow through completely or when you begin to fail you give up. Don’t give up as failing is part of the learning curve. Trying to experiment with rules, processes and procedures works best takes some time see what works and what does not. This takes place with everything you do in order to get the right things in place.

Preventing

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

Look carefully at what you have in place. Some are self-imposed that you and your employees put in place. Some are assumptions and beliefs. You need to separate them out before you start looking at what works and what you can eliminate or change. Updating your processes and procedures allows you to work better.

Start allowing your employees to “break the rules” when generating ideas for innovative breakthroughs. This means they cannot get rid of specific regulations that are required.

Move Beyond Same Old Approaches = Same Old Results

“Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”

-Elon Musk

Breaking away from the traditional ways you’ve been conducting business sometimes happens when a crisis occurs. The problem for many organizations is that you’ve been working the same way for years- the same rules, processes and procedures and have not changed with the times. O.K., you believe that what’s happening is a fad and everything will get back to the way things were. Sorry, in today’s business world creativity, innovation and technology are the way to go. On top of this is using simplification for getting things done is the extra your company needs to be productive.

Shift Your Mindset

“Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.”

― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

In today’s business world your mindset needs to change for what you need right now. Yesterday’s mindset was for yesterday as business change in the blink of an eye. Looking at your business you need to change more often than before. Instead of having one product to work with, today’s business cycles are faster requiring your company to have at least 2-3 other ideas generating in the pipeline ready for the next cycle before the current one begins.

You need to use your creative thinking to generate greater ideas as your competition is already doing this. Don’t be left behind to think that everyone wants you product or service and that a slow period will eventually bring people back for more of the same. The world has been changing and it is getting faster with newer products and service. You need to think this way too.

Start Taking Risks

“Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.” -Brian Tracy

Besides asking thought-provoking questions, you and your employees need to look at what is possible from the complexity you have in front of you. Yes, you do need to take some time to look at what you have and try small changes that will make a greater impact on what you currently do.

Taking a risk requires leaders and employees to go both inside and outside the box in search for other ways to find ideas as well as how to get things done more efficiently.

Leadership is not rocket science and in reality some people think it is especially when it comes to avoiding the problems, challenges and difficulties complexity brings. As the saying goes “Don’t take your eyes off the ball” this is what many do to let complexity into the workplace. You do need to work hard to make simplification work. It is better than the alternative- bankruptcy and fading away.

 

Leaders Thinking Beyond the Obvious

“If you want one year of prosperity, grow seeds. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.” -Chinese proverb

Conventional or group thinking results in conventional results-something no business owner wants. With this in mind, what’s the best way for you to think to get the best results you want?

Beyond the obvious is that which is not obvious. Going beyond what is obvious requires you to think non-traditionally or unconventional in order to focus on the opportunities that will move your organization forward, not backwards or from being in a stagnant position. 21st Century leaders have the ability to make the most out of every situation. Being courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo and to push the boundaries to make things better leaders need to look beyond today for where you really want to take your company in the future.

“Going beyond the obvious requires you to think differently” – Phil McKinney

Generating and executing great ideas is the key to staying ahead in a rapidly changing world. It seems so basic.  Instead of corporate executives making the decisions for what ideas to accept or reject, let your employees make the decisions to use their thoughts, ideas and opinions as they are more creative and innovative than what leaders give them credit for.

Successful People Tend To Look Beyond the Obvious

“Leadership’s job is to groom that next generation. If you’re not doing it, you won’t get there.”

-Jonathan Kass

Looking beyond the obvious requires you to be open-minded, accept feedback, and to listen to both other leaders and employees with their thoughts, ideas and opinions. Specifically ask employees the question, “How are things going?” Listen to the responses people give. How can you work with employees to give them what they need to accomplish what matters most to the company?

Rethink the Way you Conduct Business

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” -Pat Riley

Moving away from using traditional or conventional ways toward unconventional means leaders need to rethink how to conduct business different from everyone else to get greater results. By eliminating or modifying the rules, assumptions, beliefs and processes and procedures to reflect the way business is gives you a different way to take risks and opportunities for greater results.

Encourage Employees to Think Different

“Let no one or anything stand between you and the difficult task, let nothing deny you this rich chance to gain strength by adversity, confidence by mastery, success by deserving it. Do it better each time. Do it better than anyone else can do it.” -Harlow Curtice

Leaders need to change the mindsets of employees as underneath it all they have good judgment and the ability to make sound decisions that are imperative if an employee is to make the most of the opportunities that come their way.

Instead of using conventional or traditional thinking that will lead you to the same results you’ve been getting, encourage employees to think unconventional or non-traditionally. In doing so, you get all of your employees on the same page to create and develop a culture of creativity and innovation. As a result, your employees will be able to solve the problems, challenges and difficulties that sit in front of them. Let employees be the simplification to move your business to being productive and profitable.

Asking Questions

Gain control of situations by asking questions leaders want employees to ask.

Allowing your employees to ask thought-provoking questions and to have them generate ideas leaders and decision making will find greater results for breakthroughs your company has been missing. Too many employees in companies are held back from expressing their thoughts, ideas and opinions that letting employees do so allows for the creativity and innovation leaders want from your employees.

Raising the Bar

Leaders need to encourage employees to eliminate or modify the complexity within their teams in order to be more productive. This also requires teams to challenge each other beyond the obvious thinking they already have. By doing so, leaders need to not just challenge employees with generating greater results you need to keep your employees learning more creative ways to be innovative. This keeps your organization from lagging behind.

Using curiosity beyond what is obvious, leaders need to expand your horizon knowledge to lead your people for a competitive advantage. Encourage, strengthen, change the mindset and experiment allowing your employees to make mistakes and learn from them. These are the ingredients for a culture of creative innovation.

“Leadership is about coping with change” – John Kotter

Simplicity Minded Leadership

Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done

Business leaders are frequently frustrated by their organization’s complexity. Yet very few have developed a strategy for simplification. Streamlining your organization’s way of doing business will reduce or eliminate the rules, meetings, processes and procedures your company now runs on. So how can you simplify your organization in order to be productive to work on the things that matter most?

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

Instilling a growth mindset is not an overnight fix. You’ve been used to the same old, same-old routine for some time. It can only take you so far. By expecting to get different results you have to do things different from the way you do things right now. Yes, this means you have to change what you are doing.

Start with small incremental changes. These small changes can have a big impact on what you do. Then add more changes for improving your existing rules, meetings, processes and procedures. This can also be done with the emails you get flooded with every day. Do you really have to write long emails and do you have to answer or respond to each email that comes in?

Complexity

You started out with great intention as you created rules, processes and procedures. Meetings came with the territory to have all employees know what’s going on and possibly for everyone to give feedback, thoughts ideas and opinions to what was said. As time went by more rules, processes and procedures were added. Meetings came and went with more of them and longer times.

Nothing was getting done because of too many scheduled and unscheduled meetings that were unproductive. The same has been happening with receiving too many emails and thinking that you have to respond to each one.  On top of this, many assumptions and beliefs are thought of as “rules” when they are not.

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” – John Maeda

Productivity

The key to solving complex problems may be to simplify as much as possible and approach them with your mind. The more you think simplification, the more it will be ingrained in your thinking. Some people say this habit takes anywhere from 21 days to 90 days to stay with you.

Productivity changes from day to day and person to person and place to place. Leaders you need to check-in with your employees and get feedback from them as to their performance and how their work is versus how complexity was stopping them from productive work.

“At the core of productivity is the feeling that you are doing the work that matters to you most at the moment you most want to do it, without having to make huge sacrifices along the way.”

-Charles Duhigg

Doing the Work that Matters Most

Simplicity matters when you know you have to complete and it has to get done. What matters most is the work that is important to the productivity of the organization. On a simplification basis you need time to complete the work that brings in more work and generates revenue.

Stop working on non-productive things and start working on what’s priority. You were not hired to sift through the gobbley gook and be in a crisis mode every day. You were hired to be productive. Take some time out and look at what you have that’s not working. Get rid of those things and use trial-&-error to find what does work.

Put your focus on one thing at a time. Constant changes need to take place to weed out complexity. Whether this is done with every project, every quarter, twice a year, it needs to be done every year as a strategic planning guide.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

The bottom line is that some of the complexity in your organization is self-imposed because people are afraid so you cover yourself (CYA) with writing long reports. Sometimes power and control gets in the way that leads to complexity that ends up lessening work performance.  An excess of choices can lead to fatigue and can make people feel dissatisfied with the experience. This leads to exhaustion and frustration.

Instead, taking action on eliminating complexity and complacency can lead you to simplification of your entire organization. This is where you want to end up. By being proactive you need to be aware when you are creating the complexity you don’t need. Otherwise, you may not remember or not have time to get rid of what’s not necessary.

“Simplicity: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta

 

Great Leaders Simplify Complexity

Innovate to Simplify a Winning Strategy

There’s been a quiet revolution happening in corporate America and many still have not accepted the invitation to the party. Every year the world becomes more complex and new technologies arrive that make certain tasks easier at the cost of hidden complexity. No one enjoys struggling with complexity. With too many outdated processes and too much to do as technology moves you more and more into doing other things, you need to focus on what matters most.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Every leader wants simplicity in your organization. If so, start embracing complexity first. Some have called complexity the silent killer of growth. Take a look at your own company and see for yourself what holds your employees back from the work you hired them to do. How many emails do they receive and respond to or how many scheduled and unscheduled meetings are they required to attend.

Some people overcomplicate even the simplest tasks. These self-imposed ways of trying to get things done need to be looked at for change. Maybe you feel comfortable adding extra to an already complicated system that no one else is able to get anything done.

“The simpler we can make things, the more understanding and beliefs our teams will have which will help improve their efficiency and effectiveness which generate better results.”

-Gordon Tredgold

The impact of simplicity has a lot to do with complacency and complexity. How much and how long you stay still doing the same things to get the same results is what needs to be noticed before you see what is working and not working. You often get bogged down in what is happening. Things that have worked for you in the past may no longer be enough to solve what you need to get done now.

Simplification is a Key Ingredient for Your Success

“To complicate is easy. To simplify is difficult.” – Bruno Munari

How many times have your executives told you or have heard this from others that you need to “Simplify” in order to get things done. So much gets tangled with unnecessary things that it takes some thinking time to untangle what you have for simplifying what you need.

When you engage in simplicity, you have to begin to think about what really matters. One of the greatest compliments you can ever receive is that you have “the ability to simplify complexity”. It is rare to hear anyone to say that to others.

An easy starting point for simplification is to get rid of stupid rules and low-value activities, time-wasters that exist in abundance in most organizations. If you can shed a few tasks, you will create focus and time allowed to work on opportunities.

Take an Outside-in Perspective

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” – General Colin Powell

One thing we all want is simplicity.  Great leaders take complex strategies and simplify them down into key messages and action items that everyone can follow. Simplicity is fast becoming the competitive advantage of our time.

Leaders need to take an outside perspective to see how simplification can drive the need to add value to your organization- internally and externally. Reassess your organization’s processes, meetings and employees to see if they are up to the challenge. Eliminate or modify how complexity is inefficient and ineffective that stops your employees from getting things accomplished better than they have been.

The Butterfly Effect

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The butterfly effect describes the small change in one part of a system can have a significant impact to other parts of a system elsewhere. Leaders need to possibly adopt this within your own company.

Complexity requires a different kind of leadership. In order to create new ways of leading, we first need to let go of some of our old beliefs about what makes a good leader.

“Simplicity. Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Prioritize what’s really important and what’s not. One of the keys to simplification is to figure out what’s really important (and what’s not), and continually reassess the priority list as new things are added. Take the shortest path from here to there. Once it’s clear that you are working on the right things, root out the extra steps in core processes. Where are the extraneous loops, redundancies, and opportunities to make our processes as lean as possible?

Stop Being So Nice

One of the patterns that causes or exacerbates complexity is the tendency to not speak up about poor practices. This is particularly true when people hesitate to challenge more senior people who unintentionally cause complexity through poor meeting management, unclear assignments, unnecessary emails, over-analysis, or other bad managerial habits. To counter this, use constructive feedback.

“You get a competitive edge by doing something every day your competition don’t or won’t!

-Billy Cox

Great leaders live to eliminate or simplify the complex, while average leaders allow themselves and those they lead to be consumed by it. Complexity stifles innovation, slows development, gates progress, and adversely impacts culture. Complexity is expensive, inefficient, and ineffective. …great leaders understand opportunity and profits are extracted from complexity through simplification, not by adding to the complexity.”

Many of our organizations are way more complex than they need to be. In his blog on startup businesses, David Cummings wrote, “Great leaders take complex strategies and simplify them down into key messages and action items that everyone can follow.”

Complexity doesn’t automatically resolve itself. Some organizations endeavor re-design from time to time, but the work is typically limited in scope and stays inside functional boundaries. Results are more assured when the initial work is well planned and executed with precision.

What else? What are your thoughts on great leaders being able to simplify complexity?

Leaders Start an Innovation Revolution in Your Company

Kill Your Company for Innovation
Every business leader agrees that creativity and innovation is important. Telling your employees that you want to hear their ideas, but not telling them you will consider any of them keeps your company’s status quo just where it is. Companies know they have to be creative and innovative in order to encourage their teams to embrace change.
There are many pieces to the innovation puzzle and they will come together differently for each organization. “Risk-taking is central to innovation”, says futurist and change expert Lisa Bodell. Powerful techniques can help you Kill Your Business and then reinvent it for greater innovation.

Don’t Let Corporate Antibodies Kill Your Best Ideas
The corporate antibodies of your company don’t want things to change as they police, prevent and protect the company from moving forward. They like to stay complacent and believe “Everything is fine”. They are secure in their job and don’t want that to change.
Too many organizations are “stuck in the land of status quo”. The very structures you put in place to help your organization grow are what now hold you back. This is the time when you need a new approach to think and change your organization. If not, you may find your competition take over what’s left of what you built.
If employee ideas fail to be accepted, this is one place you need to look at carefully for why your company is not moving forward.
As leader of your company you don’t want to see your clients and customers leave yet this is what is happening. Your competitors win while you lose. Something has to give.

Kill Dumb Rules
Everyone has the power to innovate. Everyone needs to realize they are creative also.
Any rules that stop or slow innovation needs to either be killed or changed. Encourage employees to regularly seek these rules out. Identify one rule you want to kill and why.

Start Asking Thought-Provoking Questions
Start re-thinking, question and take some risks to get you in the right direction.
Asking the same types of questions and generating the same ideas over and over again. You need to reverse the way you think. By asking questions you shake people up to start thinking. This in-turn has people to generate ideas that are not the ordinary routine kinds of things. Otherwise, people will continue to go about their ordinary day and not work so much.

Challenge Assumptions and Beliefs
Brilliant ideas employees generate could set your company on the road to thriving beyond your expectation.
The problem with assumptions and beliefs is that they typically go unchallenged. You need to get out of your way by challenging them. This is what stops you from moving forward. Don’t dismiss the notion that innovation will have no impact on your company. You have the best resource assets right in front of you- Your Employees. Take advantage of them.
Start changing your assumptions and beliefs about your company. Shift the mindset of your employees for greater creative thinking. Question your company and how you conduct business. Ask yourself, what inhibits innovation in your company?

Collaboration is the Catalyst for Innovation
To get an innovative idea off the ground, organizations must establish create an environment where employees and customers can develop fresh ideas, encounter new ways of thinking, and share feedback. Since most change start from the middle, your teams need to cooperate well enough to work on what change they see that needs to be improved.

Start removing unnecessary red tape and begin rethinking your company. Now is the time to address your strengths, weaknesses what’s working and what’s not, and anything that gets in your way from generating ideas for creative and innovative changes. Look to Kill Your Company in order to reinvent your company to thrive beyond survival mode.

Take it to the next level and start an innovative revolution

Catalyst Leadership for Creative Innovation

Sparking Change in Your Leadership

“Change does not surface when you are not ready to be the catalyst. Your reaction matters, not your inaction.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Catalyst Leader?

Change leaders are a unique breed. Accepting the challenge to change from a traditional workplace, a handful of leaders decided to take up the challenge and turn their workplace into an unconventional way of doing business. Employees are able to produce greater results with a creative leader than with a traditional leader who is not will to thrive beyond survival mode.

Let’s start from the beginning. A leader is someone who leads others to an end-goal through a vision you have for producing a specific result. On the other hand, a catalyst is a reaction to something added to change what you started with. A catalyst, in the context of leadership, is a person who causes change and growth to happen. The leader must act as a catalyst for change and when you engage in creative thinking to bring about change, such as ideas, solutions, new concepts. Leaders need to learn how to manage their own creative thinking, as well as those they work with, to bring about productive change for new products, services, resolution to problems, opportunities.

Being a Catalyst Starts with You
As a leader, being a change maker requires you to inspire and move others to action. Identify blind spots and obstacles that prevent greater productivity and breakthrough results from occurring.
Sooner or later, leaders in the company will recognize change must come or they are forced into it as the risk of losing quality people starts to become a reality. Developing a plan for personal and professional growth needs to extend to your employees.
Knowing who you are and letting your employees see that is a plus. Having your employees see that you are a courageous risk taker with calculated risks teaches your employees to do the same. They need to see you confident in allowing them to take the lead on projects. This is a trust you place in them.

Decision makers usually think of decision situations as problems to solve, not as opportunities to take advantage of.”
– Ralph L. Keeney

Leadership as a Catalyst for Creativity
Exploring creativity as a catalyst for change leadership, as a leader you need to get to know your employee’s skills and talent. By understanding their creative abilities you are able to create work teams of people from diverse backgrounds. These individuals have their own preferences of how they think, generate ideas, make things happen, behave, complete their work and get along with like and unlike minded people. It is only then the leader allows this collaborative team to generate ideas and solve their problems, challenges and difficulties you assign to them.

Characteristics of Catalyst Leaders include Courage, Inspiring others, not conforming to traditional and looking for unconventional ways of greater breakthrough results, Drivers of change, Visionaries, and Catalysts are different in how they see the world and create value.

Giving Employees Actionable Feedback
Before you start critiquing your team members, think about how they performed on the latest project. When giving feedback, also give suggestions and direction on how they can improve and get to the next level. Don’t just give a compliment or critique and leave it at that. Add your thoughts and opinions. Finally, frame what you say in a positive way for the employee to respond and grow on what you tell them.

Being a trailblazer for change is not easy. Grow and change how you show up as a leader. Having a mindset that is growth oriented. While there is no one-size fits all approach to leadership creative leaders demonstrate certain types of actions that fit your style. Creative catalysts move your organization to creative and innovative change and growth.

Getting Comfortable Taking Innovation Risks

Is Bravery at the Top of Your Leaders’ Qualities List?

Working with creative ideas in order to create and then produce a breakthrough result most leaders don’t realize you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being used to leading your employees in the traditional, routine work they have been doing is easy knowing their specific processes to achieve the end-result. Shifting your organization from traditional to unconventional takes on more understanding of what needs to happen on the creative side.

“Those who do not take chances are on the path to “guaranteed failure”.
– Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

By shifting into the non-traditional mode, you need to understand what it takes to work using creative ideas for innovative breakthroughs. Leaders need to feel more comfortable with taking risks. If you do nothing and your status quo stays the same, you are taking a bigger risk than being innovation. You are aware your organization needs to change or it will stay afloat for some time and then cease to exist. You know you need to take a risk to change with the times. In today’s innovation economy, this means everything you do as a leader changes your entire organization. There are several things you need to shift gears on besides the obvious business ways of getting things done. If any leader is to be successful, he/she must be willing to take some risks.

Shift Your Mindset
Generating a new idea or approaching a new angle to a product needs you to embrace a growth mindset. This helps you be more open to the things around you and to the ideas generated for solving what problems, challenges and difficulties you encounter.
Challenge yourself to think differently and not being afraid of failure to take a risk. The more you question and challenge yourself, the more you are able to see things from a different perspective.

“Doing things the way they’ve always been done is the ‘most risky thing you can probably do’”
– Bill Aulet

Inspired Leaders Leading Employee’s Risk
Risks are a necessary part of moving your business forward. Embrace the unknown for new projects to innovate. Risk-taking is critical in the business world. Without it, ideas would be would be impossible to create and produce. Leaders encouraging risk-taking in your employee’s shows support by the leader. Empower your employees to make their own decisions, generate ideas and solve problems, challenges and difficulties.

Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone in order to be innovative needs you to take a risk to explore yourself more within your creative environment. Having courage and self-confidence allows you to step out of your comfort zone. Risk-taking builds employee confidence. Anyone who is too afraid to step outside their comfort zone is also too afraid to take the risks that are often needed as a leader. Successful leaders know that they must get out of their comfort zone to succeed.

Never Stop Experimenting
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
– Pablo Picasso

Experimentation for many leaders is where you must repeatedly reinvent your business on a consistent basis due to the way business climate changes. By doing this, it challenges you as a leader and your employees for learning new ways to innovate breakthrough results.
You need to effectively marry creative ideas with execution for innovation. Business leaders need to set experimentation processes in place. This helps employees create and produce breakthrough results.

Start Keeping a Journal or Notebook
By carrying a journal or notebook, notice everything around you. Write down your thoughts, ideas and opinions of what you see and think about. This will be a great reference point for now or at another time when you need it.

“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Seize the opportunities to create and innovate with the risks you need to grow and make your business better than it has been. Taking risks helps you lead new capabilities, processes and it gives your employees the opportunity to use their creative thinking skills and talent. Going beyond from where you have been allows leaders the chance to explore your own creative leadership skills. Leaders need to accept the responsibility of taking on the risk to execute an idea. This needs to feel comfortable to you and help move your organization forward.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

To Be or Not to Be Creative

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” – Edward de Bono

To be or not to be creative, that’s the question. Before you decide not to be creative, read the following and see how it fits for you.

Fill Your Mind with Many Questions to answer. Start Seeking Answers.
I was recently on a flight from Philly to Phoenix when I noticed the person seated next to me who got a few bags of pretzels. He opened the bags and stacked as many of them as possible into what looked like a fortress. At that point I asked him if he considered himself to be creative. He said “No. I sometimes like making shapes of things with whatever I have at the moment. I told him this is creativity. He did not believe me until I told him I’m a creativity coach. After a few minutes in conversation, he took out his notebook and drew a picture of a person with lot of detail. This event is the result of this article.

More and more organizations, especially start-ups, need employees to be creative. As leader of your organization you hire people who can demonstrate their creative skills and talent by their creative thoughts, ideas and opinions. They key in this is can you execute the ideas for breakthrough results. If an employee is not creative it will be much more difficult for them to let go of the past and accept unconventional ways of doing things.

“Making the simple complicated is easy. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

Many people believe that those who are creative are gifted even though this is not true. Those who are considered as not being creative either don’t want to change or you sabotage yourself with excuses. In reality, everyone is creative and a problem-solver. Have employees who believe they are not creative write down all of the accomplishments they have done. Then have them write down all problem solving situations they’ve been involved in. Most people don’t count figuring out solving puzzles, how to avoid a detour to work and back home, situations they made things work in the workplace, or find another menu item at breakfast, lunch or dinner at a restaurant than ran out of their favorite first choice.

Instead, on a routine traditional basis try changing one thing in your routine that gives you better results more efficiently. What are you willing to task a small risk in doing? Few people may notice. At the same time only you know what the small change is.
Trying to see how creative you are is the key plus practice, practice and more practice. The more positive you are in doing the possible the greater your results will be. Too many people know how to draw or even doodle when you feel bored in a meeting or while on the phone. These things by themselves actually are creative they might not be the specific thoughts, ideas or opinions your company wants, yet it gets you to use your creativity skills.

Carry a Journal or Notebook
Write down any thoughts, ideas and opinions for future reference. Being able to write down creative ideas whenever you get them is a great start to fueling your creativity.

Fueling Your Creative Skills with Talent
No matter how you express your creativity you need to have the courage to be confident enough to express your creative thoughts, ideas and opinions. One struggle many people have is how courageous and confident you are about your creative abilities. Step outside of your comfort zone a little at a time as this will help you be more comfortable with getting uncomfortable.

Inspiration Fuels Your Creativity
Ask a lot of questions to help trigger other thoughts, ideas and opinions. These questions need to be thought-provoking in order for you to think differently. To be or not to be creative, that’s the question. Keep questioning for greater creative thoughts, ideas, opinions and understanding.

Don’t let an idea slump ruin your next big breakthrough. Find a Creative Outlet. Before you channel and fuel your creativity understand that you are creative and how creative you are depends on how much time and effort you put into a project. Don’t give up. Take the risk.

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” – William Plomer