It may be hard to believe, but all of us were children once. As children, we all experienced the sense of elation and accomplishment from inventing our own games and making use of random props and terrain to choreograph a customized pastime that was a blast to play. There was virtually no limit to what we could play and where. What if we could reignite our childhood creativity and deconstruct our realm of acquired assumptions in the process? It would not only be disarmingly fun but deeply meaningful in guiding our strategic thinking.
Here is the connection: the basis of the most successful strategies is not outcompeting rivals, but rather creating your own game, your own market space. This approach is especially important during turbulent times, when traditional market definitions and standards disappear.
There is a growing recognition that creativity—or resourcefulness, as I like to re-label it—is a vital component for successfully handling unexpected, unprecedented, and rapidly changing surroundings. As an example, the Bloomberg Businessweek article “What Chief Executives Really Want,” in May 2010, noted: “According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify ‘creativity’ as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.” Think about this for a moment. Of all personal qualities, business leaders picked creativity as the key foundation for future success, ahead of such traditional pillars as operational expertise, industry know-how, interpersonal skills, or even innovation. How fascinating. There is clearly a mind-set shift in motion, which leads to the question: If creativity is thrust to the forefront of vital leadership qualities, how can you fully embrace it?
How can you tap into your personal reservoir of resourceful thinking? I’ll share with you more ideas on this next week, or you can access them now in my book Slingshot: Re-Imagine Your Business, Re-Imagine Your Life.