Tag Archives: candor

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Creativity: Are you building it or crushing it?

When it comes to creativity, fear of criticism, judgment, of taking risks and putting your reputation on the line is a huge obstacle.

We’re born creative and continually experience the excitement of that creativity as we grow. Over time, our environment and experiences can cause us to fall into thinking patterns that get in the way of our creativity.

Your job as a leader is to help shift thinking and remove these obstacles:

Play is frivolous. We’re told that children play and adults are meant to be serious. This creates the self-limiting belief that if something starts to feel too much like fun then it can’t possibly be productive work. Start by changing your thought patterns around creativity. The more you let go of the existing beliefs and thoughts that limit you in thinking of new possibilities, the more you can explore creativity. Find small ways to be creative everyday while encouraging the same in others. If you’re interested in watching a truly outstanding creative process in action, search “IDEO Shopping Cart” on youtube.com and watch their process. (Thanks to Cactus Club CEO Richard Jaffray for recommending this video.)

Creativity comes from creative people. When people think that creativity is the job of marketing or PR, they disable their own creativity. Once they understand that creativity is a choice for all of us, not part of a select few people’s job descriptions, the realms of possibility open up substantially. As a leader, consider where you might be categorizing others as “creative” or “not creative.” Work on altering that thought pattern to embrace the idea that we all have that capacity by asking people for ideas on projects when you normally wouldn’t seek their input.

Deciding before you start. If you think you know the answer before you start the creative process, then you may be limiting yourself to a smaller set of possibilities. Instead, view your idea as only one possible solution and look at it from new perspectives. Curiosity creates leverage in brainstorming so ask a lot of questions, considering as many different view points as you can.

Believing there is a “right” answer. When we focus our problem solving on trying to find the “right” answer there’s a tendency to have a narrow focus. This prevents us from exploring the problem or opportunity in favour of trying to “fix it” as soon as possible. Try “reverse brainstorming,” where you reverse the problem or challenge by brainstorming answers to the question “How could we possibly cause this problem.” Once you have a number of ideas to solve the reverse problem, reverse them into solutions for the original problem or challenge.

Stinking thinking. The easiest way to kill a brainstorming session is with killer statements: “We’ve tried that before,” “That won’t work in this market,” “We don’t have the resources/budget” (this one’s my personal favourite). Next time you’re in a brainstorming session with your team, take a positive approach by first getting all the ideas out on the table before debating or discussing any of them.

Fear of failure. When it comes to creativity, fear of criticism, judgment, of taking risks and putting your reputation on the line is a huge obstacle. After all, your ideas may be a complete flop, so it just feels safer to stick to the status quo. As a leader, it’s your job to create the space for people to take the risk. Consider failure as feedback; focus on and celebrate learning, how to move forward, and what to do differently next time.

BIV Boardroom Strategy – Creativity are you building it or crushing it – Sept 2012

Advertisements

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Candid realities about business’ dirty little secret

In an effort to avoid conflict, leaders and team members often conceal their true feelings, withhold their opinions or outwardly agree and go along with the crowd while inside they are vehemently opposed.

For some, this lack of candour also extends to hoarding information or avoiding communicating with others entirely, in an effort to save face or get and stay ahead of the pack.

Strength of the strategic plan and the ability for executives to collaborate cross-silo with their teams depends considerably on trust and respect within and between teams. The willingness to come forward with authenticity and transparency is key to building up that trust and respect.

In Jack Welch’s book Winning, he describes a lack of candour as businesses’ “dirty little secret.” Continue reading

If only everyone else was more candid, I would be too…

As a leader if you’ve waiting for everyone else to start modelling candour and authenticity, it might be a while. Our jobs as leaders is to model the behaviours we’d like to see demonstrated by our boss, our direct reports, and our peers.

Being candid and authentic means taking a risk to say what’s true for you, even though your opinion may not match up with the rest of the people in the room. This takes courage.  There’s a great line in the movie We Three Kings, that demonstrates this: George Clooney says, “courage isn’t what you need, courage is what you get as a result of taking a risk.” This applies 100% to candour.

Here’s what I’ve seen when teams try out candour as a new behaviour particularly during strategic planning experiences:

  • people respond by saying, “wow, I was thinking something similar but didn’t have the guts to say it out loud.”
  • other people respond to candour with comments like, “I’m so glad you had the courage to say that. I didn’t realize a lot of the facts you brought up and how passionate you are about them.”
  • teams finally talk about the “real stuff” that’s going on
  • the strategic plan ends up being far more engaging and the level of alignment around the plan just up
  • there’s an increase in ideological conflict as more conflicting ideas on what’s right for the company/organization/team come to light (a very good thing)
  • peoples true passions and excitement come alive around the key issues, opportunities, and challenges, your team is facing

If any of these sound like outcomes you’re looking for then the next step is to take a risk, experience your courage, and demonstrate to your team that you are willing to be authentic, candid, and say what’s true for you.

What’s your experience been around candour?