How to Be Creative When You’re Not an Artist
Episode #3 of the course Ten essential traits for today’s leaders by Frank McKinley
Welcome to Lesson Three!
In the previous lesson, you learned how to send messages that are persuasive and effective. In today’s lesson, you’ll learn that creativity is something everyone—especially leaders—can and should master.
Do you see yourself as creative? Or does that word block you because you think it’s only for artists? Creativity takes many forms: painting a landscape, writing a nonfiction book, solving a problem.
Creativity is the power to produce something that didn’t exist before. It’s taking something broken or disorganized and making it better. As a leader, you’ll be called on to do this often, maybe even every day. In this lesson, we’ll quantify the process so that you can be creative whenever you need to be.
First, You Need to See
When your car runs a bit differently than normal, you might not notice. But if the engine skips and the accelerator doesn’t move your car down the highway like it did yesterday, you start asking questions:
Is this a vacuum problem?
Do I need a new fuel filter?
Am I running out of gas?
I’m not a mechanic. I usually hire someone to fix my car. For him to fix it properly, I have to describe in enough detail what’s going on.
I threw in the last choice—running out of gas—because sometimes the answers are obvious. When you examine a problem, start by looking at what’s in front of you. Then you can dive into the hidden drivers behind it if you need to.
Second, Make Plans
By now, you’ve defined what you want: a better drive, a repair that fixes the problem, a maintenance schedule that prevents this from happening again.
Your goal helps you draw the right map. You don’t take a summer vacation by jumping in the car and going wherever. That might be fun for an afternoon, but when you have a week off you’d rather go to the beach than a vacant lot in the middle of nowhere. You want to know you have somewhere to stay beside the back seat of your car. If you want to have fun, you can’t treat your trip like a visit to a casino.
Recently my son’s car overheated on the way to work. He pulled over to park it and called me for help. Seeing something was drastically wrong we took it to a mechanic for a diagnosis. It turns out that the car’s head gasket had blown. He had another engine in a junk car he bought to repair the one he was driving, so he hired someone to put it in his new car.
Third, Take Action
You create art by painting a canvas and showing it at a gallery. You get your car running again by repairing what’s broken. You make a better culture or organization by turning your vision into reality. Let’s take a look at an example.
You want your business to be a serious competitor in your industry. To do that, you SEE you need more sales. Then you can compete with the players in the tier just above you.
Next, you make plans. How many more prospects can you see? What part of the market can you tap into more? How will you get these people’s attention and change their minds?
Once you have this information, it’s time to act:
• Run targeted social media ads that reach your target market.
• Send small gifts to prospects and follow up with a phone call.
• Ask your clients for referrals and offer a small reward when any of them become your customers.
Your plans don’t have to be huge to be creative. They just have to make something better. What will you create today?
In our next lesson, we’ll look at ways you and your team can be more productive. Wasting time will become a thing of the past!
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley
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