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Jan 20, 2013

It's the way we have always done it.

I have just finished writing a learning event with regard to creative thinking and how effective leaders can enable the development of creative environments.   This got me thinking about some of the organisations, and even teams within organisations, that I have come in contact with over the years.
Some were transformational  - forward thinking,  dynamic and full of people with vision, others seemed tired, stilted and resistant to new ideas or change.
I recall speaking to a, potentially very capable leader, from a group that I felt was rather resistant to change and being told that throughout their career they had been told to always stay safe, follow procedures and be cautious in outlook.  This approach constrains people from exploring their creativity and maximising their potential.
I firmly believe that leaders should be prepared to take risks, to challenge rules and do things differently. Thankfully traits such as this are often found in behaviour descriptors of positive leaders.  Thinking about this I believe that such approaches are the very opposite of being seen as a person who always stays in their comfort zone and does things the way that they have always been done.
To be creative and try new ways of doing things is not anarchy,  if people are clear what the core values of the organisation are and if these are positive values and central to decision making, then we are part way towards enabling a culture of creativity.
In these challenging economic times many organisations are facing difficulty, often not through the fault of their staff but because the business model they are following has not changed.  Perhaps the organisation leaders have not been able to see how to respond in a creative manner and perhaps they have not encouraged creativity and ideas among their personnel.
To be creative we must lose the fear of being wrong, if we generate ten ideas and nine fail at the first hurdle, then at least we will still be moving forwards with one creative idea.  It was the Management Consultant Peter Drucker who said “Any organisation must be prepared to abandon what it does to survive the future.”
·        If it is ethical and it works – do it!
·        Remember – A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out (Anon)
So if you as a leader wanted to work in an unproductive, tired environment what are the things that you would do to stifle creativity?

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