Creativity ain't easy

It's just not.  Relying on creativity means it hasn't been done before or you're making something significantly better.  Many will have a disdain for creativity because it doesn't have a guaranteed ROI.  What are the possible risks with creativity?

  • It could fail
  • It could lead to embarrassment
  • It doesn't turn out like you hoped
  • Limitations could be discovered
  • No guaranteed ROI
  • It could take time
  • It can become personal
  • It might not be perfect
  • It could require revisions

The "gain" to creativity is the process.  Forcing our minds past the norms we abide by daily is good for us.  It allows us to have a more open mind to what could be.  Can vision exist without a mind that dabbles in creativity?  Vision is an essential piece to our lives because it gives us a direction.  It provides the why behind what we do.  But vision is of what could be and not what currently is.

The question shouldn't be, "Can I afford to be creative, is the risk worth it."  The question should be, "Can I afford not to be creative?"

Five questions to ask if you want an innovative team or organization

Who's the most innovative person you know? What do they do that makes them the most innovative?  How do they view the world?  How do they view their work?  What kind of space do they have in their life to be innovative?

I'm learning that even innovation is beginning to look different in our modern world.  Innovation, for large part, was the act of making something better.  The iPhone might be the best example in the last 10 years.  It's a phone.  It's an iPod.  It's a few other things we already had.  But it was an innovation making all those other things better instead of creating something absolutely new.

How is innovation changing?

The first thing to being innovative is not throwing out the baby with the bath water.  The structure that currently supports everything still needs to be tended to.  However, if you are a leader seeking innovation either you or an assigned team needs get completely outside the walls of the the current model.  Even if your organization was started ten years ago its methods of communication, sharing information, and training are outdated.  It's like putting a new coat of paint on a wall that isn't necessary anymore.  Innovation has changed requiring brand new methods, which are not hindered by the former structure that has held the current model but can also work in places with minimal resources.  Start your thinking towards equipping those cultures and everyone will benefit.

Once you are working outside the "normal or everyday operations" here are some critical questions to ask:

1.  If we never existed, how would we start today?  

2.  Using todays resources how would our infrastructure or sharing of information or methods be different?

3.  How would we enable people less financial resources to be successful at what we do?

4.  How would this require me, or us, as the leader(s) to communicate differently?

5.  What are the lowest cost experiments we can do to test the previous four questions?

Innovation in the future will go beyond simply modifying the model so it's better.  Innovation will be coming up with an entirely new way for the core values to be successful in places where the current model with a twist still won't work.  If you want to lean even further into thought on innovation I highly recommend Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble.  This book will cause your brain to spin in a profound and delightful way.  I'm already excited to hear how you are leading into a whole new way of innovation for your team or organization.












The key to developing lots of leaders

I remember being 18 years old sitting in the car of someone that I respected and he spoke vision into my life about being a leader. The moment was so important I still remember what intersection we were at (The stoplight at Faron and Woodbine), how many cars were in front of us, and even what the sky looked like that day. I can remember every detail from this life changing moment 16 years ago. bullseye

Photo credit to Tim Snell

There is a difference between a leader who produces lots of leaders and a leader who doesn't. The leader who produces lots of leaders has the ability to speak vision into the personal life of another person.

How do you speak vision into someone else's life?

1. Choose a private moment - It's hard for people to take the seriousness of what you're saying in a social situation instead of a private moment. If the receiver can't hear you clearly the message will always be lost.

2. Name the place - "I think you would be a good ________________ ." A key to speaking into the life of a person is to give them a destination. People will think to themselves, "Maybe I could do that?" As leaders we get to be the people who say, "You can do that."

3. Ask for their thoughts - You may have dropped a bomb on someone, it's important to allow them to process. Insecure leaders will want to back up their vision in order to convince the person they are right. Don't do this, allow processing time. Say, "What do you think about when I say that?" Shut up and listen.

4. Now the "Why" - Why you believe in this person is SO important! Make sure you have prepared in advance for this moment. Now speak into their gifts and how those gifts will equip them to be successful at the vision you put out there.

5. Say it one more time - Don't drag out the conversation but end it with, "I just wanted you to know that I think you would be an amazing ___________"

In leadership we can screw up and assume the people we lead know what we think they are capable of. The bad news is we make the wrong assumption. The good news is that we can speak vision into the lives of people we care about.

Please leave a comment about how someone spoke a vision into your life that stuck!


The leader you are going to be in 2012 – Part 2

You are going to be a leader who casts vision in 2012.

As Andy Stanley says, “Vision leaks."  It leaks from people on every team within any organization or business. This year your vision casting is going to look different. Before you tell us where we're headed, tell us “why” we need to accomplish this vision. That’s what we're asking you in our heart as you describe your vision to us. “Why” do we need to get there? “Why” do we have to be involved? “Why” should we care about your vision? The “Why” is what makes us move, we have to feel the answer to “why” before we will act. The “Why” is what pulls at our hearts, engages us emotionally, and causes us to follow you and help you make the vision a reality.

Do you know why you are leading people in the first place? Why do you lead? Please leave a comment!

Photo credit to