“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” - Albert Einstein
When we find ourselves working more in the business than on the business, that’s when we know we’re lacking creativity. Why is creativity so important? Because it drives innovation, fuels new ideas, prevents us from becoming stagnant, and opens the door for us to think outside the box in terms of operations and marketing which will lead us down the path of having a competitive advantage.
It’s not uncommon for leaders to feel like they don’t have the time to work on the business. This frame of mind is understandable. After all, the demands of not only day to day operations, but our family lives as well makes it difficult to find the time without sacrificing energy, burnout, or low productivity by working even later nights or weekends. Low levels of energy, being burnt out, and not having the mental stamina to be productive are basically creativity’s kryptonite.
The good news is that we don’t have to “find” the time. We create the time in the hours that we have. We’ll take a deep dive into this with Power Skill #7; Time Maximization. It’s essential for us to invest quality time working on our business to not only separate ourselves from the competition but make them irrelevant through new, innovative ideas to test and measure, performance reflection, visualization for where we’re striving to go and challenge ourselves to see if we can get there faster, effective Blue Ocean marketing strategies, energized environment, and business operations.
Often, we can become consumed by the pressures of having to produce fast results. This can lead to getting sucked into focusing so much on data and having to hit daily targets that it puts a chokehold on growth and innovation which is what the future of business depends on for sustainability.
A surprising stat that I came across in a Forbes article was that 75% of adults feel that they are not living up to their creative potential and are under pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. This was an eye opener for me personally as a leader and it has created an incentive to ingrain more creativity into the organization.
So, how do we define creativity and develop it?
Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas. There are various ways to develop our own individual creativity and creativity within our organization.
Let’s take a look at 5 key ways to develop and improve our creativity…
Although creativity is defined as the use of original ideas, we can often improve our creativity through finding inspiration from other creative leaders in our industry or even other industries. When we take brilliant ideas from other organizations and implement them into our own, I find that we train our Reticular Activating System (RAS) to source out new ideas from places we least expect it. For example, if we’re now focused on sourcing out marketing strategies and content from other dealerships in the automotive industry, we’ll find ourselves noticing marketing strategies and content from other industries such as Real Estate, Furniture, RV & Leisure, etc. and tweaking those ideas to make them our own for the dealership.
Curiosity ties into having an open-mindset. We must be willing to first look for clues that success leaves, then come at it from a place of wonder and curiosity. Why did they do the ad that way? Where do they get their ideas from? How often do they post on social media? Would they be open to a conversation? What kind of success are they getting? How do I add even more value than they are? What are other businesses doing in similar industries as ours that’s contributing to their growth? The more we work on the quality of our questions, the higher quality of answers we’ll receive and in turn, improve our overall operations.
If your brain can be as active as mine, then it would be extremely beneficial to work on slowing it down. By working on this skill, we provide ourselves the space to allow fresh, new ideas to formulate. We’re all guilty of going hard without taking the appropriate amount of downtime to unplug and recharge. At first, it can be a little intimidating being alone with our thoughts. But, like anything, the more we do it and practice deliberately, the better we get at it. Then, magic happens. We free ourselves from the outside world, become present in the moment, and this is when we are our most creative selves. It’s in moments of slowing down in isolation that we can discover our most creative ideas which will accelerate our innovation and growth.
I’m a huge advocate, and still am, for daily routines. Especially night and morning routines. They help us prepare for each day which gives us the confidence to create the best day we can for ourselves. As we know, preparation breeds confidence. However, we don’t want to have routines run our day for us. If we do, we’re stuck in a pattern that perhaps isn’t serving us which becomes exceptionally difficult to disrupt and get out of. We must disrupt our patterns to ignite creativity. Try taking lunch at a different time, walking or running a different path, taking a different route to work, getting up from our desk every 30 minutes and going for a 5 minute walk. It’s not an understatement to say that it’s critical to recognize and break any patterns that aren’t currently serving us to its fullest.
What got us to where we are, won’t necessarily get us to where it is we’re striving to be. We must get ourselves in a cycle of learning to unlearn what isn’t serving us and relearn what is serving us and our future. Basically, develop our self-awareness through daily journaling, self-reflection, and visualization to ensure that we’re leveraging all that we’ve learned in life thus far, unlearning anything that isn’t aligned with who it is we’re becoming, and relearning anything we need to bring with us from our past into the future we desire. Exercises like this allow us to see life through a different lens and we tend to have these perspective shifts which puts us down the road to… what if? What if I made this pivot in my life and/or business? Where would that take me? What if I stayed where I am and what I’m doing? Where would that take me? This coincides with curiosity leading to creativity.
Get curious and create the life you can and deserve to have.
You got this!