You’d love your company to be more like Apple. Or maybe Google, Tesla, Dyson, Amazon or some other trailblazing, fast-growing, volatile-economy-defying, pin-up brand. Of course, you would. The problem is you most likely won’t get what you wish for because you’re not prepared to do the things that are necessary to make it so. At least not if you’re like most leaders, that is.
Wanting to be a more innovative company is now evidence-based common sense. Creative companies are the new business benchmark. That’s where the growth is, where the money is and where the best talent wants to work. In survey after survey business leaders acknowledge creativity to be the most important quality, their organization needs in order to succeed. They talk a great game to their shareholders, customers and staff about how the only winners in today’s world will be those that think fast and differently, that invent and disrupt, and that act creatively across every aspect of their work.
But here’s the rub. The vast majority of these same leaders wholeheartedly fail to put into practice anything that delivers against that vision. It’s the biggest business dichotomy of our time: the thing that is most important to business success is the one thing that gets consistently ignored. Hindered by the narrow channels of their education and experience, and a fundamental lack of understanding of creative processes, far from promoting creativity in their organizations most leaders actively discourage it. It’s a double whammy problem: business leaders don’t know how to be creative, and, even when told, they lack the courage to act on what they hear.