Facilitates Creative Process
What, SPECIFICALLY, do GREAT leaders DO differently?
LESSON THREE on the Tilt Leadership Model
Category: Resilience Meta-Factor
Definition of Resilience: The ability to quickly catalyze change to adapt and respond to a complex, dynamic environment.
Proficiency #3. Facilitates Creative Process. (Strength=Creativity)
The leader who is great at this understands that everyone has the potential to be creative and intentionally facilitates creative process every day. The increasing complexity of the world we live in has increased the value of those leaders and individual contributors who learn, adapt, think and contribute their ideas to solve problems and create value. In fact, if an enterprise or organization is not cultivating this process intentionally today, they may be at risk of significant loss of competitive viability. In the last 300 years we have moved from a world of certainty to a world of utter uncertainty, so our ability to adapt creatively may the single most important capacity to develop in ourselves and others.
First, some definitions may be helpful. Creativity is a process of applied imagination where an individual creates something novel. In order to be considered “creative” the idea must also be considered valuable to others. So, it isn’t enough to think of an idea. It must also be adopted by others who consider it viable.
How is this different than innovation?
Innovation is when a creative idea (both novel and valuable) is adopted and applied in widespread use. Acceptance of the idea by a large audience is the test for what is considered an INNOVATION.
So, how does the creative leader facilitate this process?
They embrace opposites or what we call polarities, and manages them. Both in themselves and in others through group process. For example, on the Tilt Expertise Polarity, the leader must encourage divergent thinking (receptivity) and convergent thinking (applied diligence). They can help teams playfully brainstorm and facilitate openness and exploration of a wide spectrum of ideas. Then they balance that with synthesis and action to apply the best idea. Creative leaders are able to manage ALL of the polarities in the Tilt model and provide the example for balanced thinking in their interactions with others… and through discipline in themselves.
In most organizations today, time pressure and focus on short-term results ends up short-circuiting the balance that must occur in the polarities. Leaders under pressure to perform will inevitably push to move to action prematurely and lose the benefits of idea time and evaluative process so that the ideas that are applied are the optimum solutions and contributions. For example, a leader must balance risk with the potential unintended consequences when deciding if an idea has merit. In short, the leader must be excellent at holding vigil for the team…deciding when to move from divergent to convergent thinking and get into action. Too soon, and the idea could end in disaster. So the mission critical leader must posses a capacity for good judgment about when to move from idea to implementation.
The Tilt model as a whole is about leadership that will bring about creative application. The creative process happens through balance and polarity management. If a leader masters the polarities of the Tilt leadership model, the natural outcome is the innovation. (Note: Research results to be presented at the International Leadership Association Annual Conference in Boston, MA in October of this year.)
Interesting Learning for this lesson: (Adapted from Csikszentmihalyi, 1996)
Creative Process includes a five step process that takes time to produce novel ideas which add value and are adopted by the domain where they emerged.
1. Preparation through immersion in a domain of choice. Ex: If I am a musician, I must spend years developing knowledge, skills, abilities and talents to be fully immersed in my chosen field of study. This happens when a person is immensely attracted to a particular aspect of mastery and enjoys diving deep into the field.
2. Incubation period in which ideas bake below the surface of consciousness. During this time connections and unexpected combination of concepts come into being.
3. Insight emerges from the incubation of thought and breakthrough ideas pull the pieces of the puzzle together in the conscious mind and manifest concretely. After years of immersion, the potential for creative novelty in the chosen field increases due to an informed instinct.
4. Evaluation is when the creator must decide if the insight has worth and value. Is the idea “novel” and will it contribute something of value to the domain? This is an emotional period of uncertainty and risk for the creator and sponsors of the idea. If the decision is to pursue the last step in the process, it will be a huge commitment of time and effort.
5. Elaboration is the step that takes the largest investment of time and often requires resources to support bringing the idea into application. This also entails the hardest work in the process because the idea must be researched and fully developed for its viability for widespread application. Many do not have the patience to invest in this costly process and therefore, many ideas never make it past stage 4. Most often, it is the tenacious human spirit of the creator that drives forward through the years of effort required to forge the breakthrough in their domain of choice.
Quote by Thomas Edison
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Question for thought:
What are you doing to cultivate creative process in yourself and in your team?
Introducing the Meta-Factor of COURAGE and Proficiency # 4.
Pam Boney, Lead Instructor
Tilt Academy for Innovative Leadership