An organization’s receptivity to art and creativity as a natural part of the work conversation has a direct correlation to the leader’s sensibility around risk and expansiveness. In my experience, this can happen in any size organization, on different scale, and isn’t necessarily related to big budgets or fancy programs. Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking that creativity, like trust, is a “nice to have,” in an organization rather than essential to its health, well-being, and sustainability for the long term. General Electric, long known for its significant investment in its leaders at the Crotonville site, has one of the only arts-based leadership learning programs in the world. Smaller, entrepreneurial firms are often creative by nature, in their nimbleness and flexibility to change. These leaders know the essential role and relationship between creativity and innovation, and thus, long-term viability for their business growth.
It’s a mistake to focus only on the here-and-now operations or the day-after-day agendas. There is always a tension between the visionary responsibility of the leaders (what if? how can we?) and the ‘git er done” of the managers and line-level staff. It’s a tension that will never go away, so navigating that tension is a creative act in itself. And, the gravitational pull, for everyone in the organization, will always be to what’s currently going on, what’s on fire or close at hand. So, it’s imperative, if you want to foster creativity, harvest artistry, and take your organization to its creative edge, again and again, you must be willing to behave counter intuitively: take time for engaging in actions and activities and conversations that bring everyone’s talents to bear.
There wasn’t enough time to answer all the great questions posed during my recent Netspeed Thought Leader webinar. Over the next few weeks I’ll be addressing them here, stay tuned!
If you missed The Poetry of Persuasion: The Powerful Language of Leaders, you can watch a recording of the session and review the presentation slide deck here.