A lot has been written over the years about creativity. People who market professional services are thought to be creative. Creativity is expected, if you want to enter this business. What do you know about creativity?
Many think it is simply a right brain condition where creative people have strengths while left brain folks are better suited for the technical, numbers and details of the industry. Viewing creativity as solely the realm of one side of the brain limits ideas and possibilities. It fails to respect how creativity impacts science and rational thinking. Creativity comes from an assortment of traditional and non-traditional sources.
Are you a broker of possibility and hope?
If not, you need to look at your creativity in the context of emotional intelligence. The chart shows how both sides of the brain come into play. The quadrants of emotional intelligence include: Self-Awareness, Social-Awareness, Relationship Management and Self-Management. Understanding each of these will enable you to unleash your inner and sometimes hidden creative forces.
You might be asking yourself how creativity comes into play with your relationships. Vision, influence and leadership drive creativity to support your relationships.
Have you gotten tired of people saying, “Think outside the box?” The creative marketing professional doesn’t think outside the box, they create a new box. Marketers don’t like to play on a level playing field. They are under constant pressure to create a competitive advantage. If they believe they are on a level playing field, they will look like a community college against a Clemson in the National Championship game. The services that your firm delivers to clients are like hundreds of others. How do you make yourself and your firm memorable to clients? The internet has made it easy for clients to assess the capabilities of firms they want to do business with. In an industry that considers sales a dirty word, the word creativity brings on images of crazy, outrageous, and unwise. Therefore, your creativity must be tempered by your flexibility and adaptability. Management realizes that traditional marketing and the status quo no longer build business. A change agent must be a leader first.
Think about what these people had to say about creativity:
“A truly creative person rids him or herself of all self-imposed limitations.” Gerald G. Champoski
“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.” Ray Kroc
“Creation is a drug I can't do without.” Cecil B. DeMille
It is interesting that the movie maker, De Mille, and the entrepreneur, Kroc founder of McDonalds, both viewed creativity as essential for their work. You should feel the same way.
Six Myths Of Creativity
A groundbreaking study about innovation in the workplace uncovered six myths of creativity. The study, conducted by Teresa Amabile, a professor and head of the entrepreneurial management unit at Harvard Business School, was summarized in a Fast Company article, "The 6 Myths of Creativity." Here is what she found:
• Creativity comes from creative types: The reality is that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work.
• Money is a creativity motivator: The reality is that money isn't everything.
• Time pressure fuels creativity: The reality is that time pressure stifles creativity because people can't deeply engage with the problem.
• Fear forces breakthroughs: The reality is that creativity is positively associated with joy and love, and negatively is associated with anger, fear and anxiety.
• Competition beats collaboration: The reality is that the most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas.
• A streamlined organization is a creative organization: The reality is that creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing.
How do these findings relate to the conditions in your firm?
You now know that both sides of the brain are important in the creative process. Do you ever believe something in your gut but are afraid to offer the idea or proceed? Intuition is one of the strongest ways to deliver your creative process. There are other things to consider, if maximizing your inherent creativity is a goal in your career path. Don’t second guess yourself or live in the pit of self-doubt. Accept criticism but don’t accept it as an absolute. Observe and learn from your mistakes. Become a risk taker.
Break free from the naysayers, external constraints, internal biases and fear of reprisals or consequences. Your curiosity should compel you to ask questions. Marketers who are afraid to ask questions continue to play on a level playing field. We are all solution providers and are, to one extent or another, creative people. If you are having problems with this, stop asking “why” and start asking “why not.” The paradigm shifts when you use creativity to change the outcomes of your firm's business opportunities. The change agent is yesterday's news.
You will be well prepared to become a broker of possibility and hope.