I sat in the office waiting for a debriefing on my job interview. I didn’t get a management position from this organization. The senior executive spoke to me cordially about me doing a good job. I pressed him for more specifics so that I could improve myself on the next job interview. He candidly mentioned that my outside interest (writing, talkshow appearances, TV interviews) was a distraction to this position. It was apparent that this older gentleman wasn’t ‘feeling my creativity.’ In fact, I felt he didn’t like it. I politely thanked him. I knew I was a marked men his mind due to showcasing my creativity. During this period and in this organization, creativity was not deemed a valuable asset to the organization.
Over the past eight months, 1.8 million people without jobs left the labor market. In fact, their pessimism was so great that they gave up looking for employment. Hidden beneath these numbers are the underemployed. Tennessee Congressman John Duncan Jr. notes, “Underemployment is probably even higher, with far too many having to work at low-paying jobs for which they are over-qualified.”
With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, individuals are perplexed as to what is the best decision to make for their careers. If more jobs are needed, it will take organizations that possess the ability of innovation. Given this premise, this discussion examines how managers can infuse their organizations with creativity, thereby surviving and defeating disruptive change. Organizations must develop their workforce to be a collection of innovators and creators. Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution, notes “Industrial revolutionaries will exploit any protective urge, any hesitancy on the part of the oligarchy…In the nonlinear world, only nonlinear ideas will create new wealth.”
Unfortunately, many of today’s managers are not equip to think in nonlinear ways. Their extensive experiences become a liability during disruptive change. As American businesses battle their global competitors with the scientific management strategy, market shares continue to take a downward spiral. Everyday disruptive change breaks down traditional organization strategies. What worked yesterday will not work in this harsh environment. Therefore, organizations move cautiously into the future. Therefore, the nation stares at impending danger.
However, creativity may be one of the biggest weapons to fend off competitors. Creativity is the process of developing new, uncommon, or unique ideas. It involves a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts. Organizations do not understand how to infuse creativity.
Creative genius Michael Michalko argues that innovation does not happen by chance: “It [creativity] is not a result of some easily learned magic trick or secret, but a consequence of your intention to be creative and your determination to learn and use creative-thinking strategies.”
Companies need to determine how they will use innovation as a competitive advantage. In fact, creative people need to work in environments that stimulate, grow, and enhance their abilities. In taking this step, they need to create a culture that supports these gifted individuals by rewarding them and giving them opportunities to growth. When organizations get serious about maximizing their creativity, they will be laying the groundwork for a sustainable future.
The future is ripe for creators. Sadly, globalization has become a menacing threat to some businesses. Therefore, the major challenge for contemporary institutions is to produce workers who are intelligent, creative, and internationally savvy to handle the challenges of the 21st century. Trend expert Henrik Vejlgaard insists that creative people often set new trends. These create people include poets, authors, actors, architects, singers, and other gifted individuals. High performance organizations across the globe will seek these creative groups out if they want to sustain market advantages and sustain profitability.
American humorist Erma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.” Truly, creative individuals want to fully use their talents and feel appreciate. In contemporary organizations, innovation and creativity often falter as a major priority. Management strategist Stanley Gryskiewicz argues that turbulence associated with change can be a positive force for innovation. In fact, finding innovative ways to jumpstart tomorrow’s engineers is a great concern for businesses that want to remain relevant in the 21st century.
How do contemporary organizations take steps to infuse creativity in their organizations? What can creative employees submerged in bureaucracies do to sustain their creative juices?
© 2010 by Daryl D. Green