Disruptive Change for Publishing Status Quo

I chat with June and Robin, my publicists, about the future of the publishing business.  [I had several books already published. Yet, I needed a book contract from an established commercial publisher if I wanted to be respected in academia.  Academia prefers the traditional publishing route.   This reality placed me on a journey to receive many rejection letters.  I had written a book manuscript as part of my doctorate requirements in 2008.  In 2009, I still didn’t have a commercial publisher.  June and Robin were now providing new insight.]  After attending a publishing conference on emerging trends, my publicists inform me that major publishers were telling emerging authors to self-publish or work with smaller publishers.  The ladies now tell me I am moving in the right direction. I am shocked!

Traditional publishing is a business with established processes.  Robert Jacobs, Richard Chase, and Nicholas Aquilano, authors of Operations & Supply Management, define a process as any part of an organization that takes inputs and transforms them into outputs of great value. This means turning an idea into a concrete product (a book).  This process isn’t easy! The major publishers
(aka commercial or traditional publisher) continue to lose money. Yet, the major purpose for traditional publishers is to turn a profit. Therefore, large publishing houses prefer to publish: (a) proven, established writers, (b) celebrities, (c) marquee names, and (b) authors with a large, established following.  Traditional publishers normally launch 20 or more books at the same time with the hope of one hitting. The three basic elements for publishing a book are planning, promotion, and distribution.  Planning covers the entire process from the initial book idea to printing, marketing, and distribution.

In the traditional process,  an individual normally needs to develop a book proposal and find a literary agent to pitch a book to a major publisher.  However, there are gatekeepers (literary agents and editors) that often keep most new writers from publication. In fact, getting a literary agent is just as tough as getting a book deal.  For some individuals, it takes years to obtain a book deal—for some people it’s never.

 When getting Impending Danger published, I found a commercial publisher. It took over two years from concept to a published book. This meant the publisher would take care of the publishing details and provide me with a royalty. Yet, I lost  the control of dictating the specifics such as the book cover design or the marketing of the book.

The publishing industry has already been reshaped by disruptive change, including Print-on-Demand (POD) Publishing,
the Internet, and more entrepreneurial writers. Mergers of the major publishers, the advent of the large booksellers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, and niche marketing of small, independent publishers continue to reshape the industry standards. There are over 60,000 books being published yearly. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of books (over 53%) are
purchased outside of traditional bookstores.

When publishing Job Strategies for the 21st Century, I was able to get the book out into the market within a few months
and obtain royalties on a monthly basis.  Under this new publishing model, most books can be published within a
month or two, making it timelier than the traditional method.

The new publishing paradigm for traditional publishers is to monitor the small publishers and self-publishers until an author achieves a high level of success in the marketplace, and then sign them to a book deal.  The Internet, while a friend of most savvy
authors, has created an appetite for free content. This reality has sent shockwaves through the traditional publishing process which has caused many bookstores, publishers, and other support services to go out of business.

Being a published author can change an individual’s life.  Dan Poynter, considered the Godfather of Self-Publishing, notes: “The prestige enjoyed by the published author is unparalleled in our society.” A person can use a book to obtain royalties, get new business, and promote other products. Under the new publishing model, the sky is the limit.

What will the publishing process look like in the next five years with a continual onslaught of disruptive change? 

How do emerging writers overcome the destabilizing nature of the Internet (Free) when offering products directly to readers?

© 2011 by Daryl D. Green

 

Advertisements

Creativity for Survival

 

It is 2020. Knowledge management and information gathering dominate the world. Therefore, he who owns and controls information is king. Globalization has made labor cheaper and abundant. Yet, the critical assets are inno-thinkers. They are the lifeblood of society.

With the majority of engineers coming from China and India in 2020, American companies lose their innovative edge in the marketplace. Many historians point to 2008 when US engineering schools did nothing to wave off the international threat. Some hoped things would change. Yet, the future remains uncertain for engineering in America.

As America marches to a different drummer, it finds there is an impending danger ahead. While globalization has become a menacing threat to some businesses, the major challenge for traditional academic institutions is to produce engineers who are intelligent, creative, and internationally savvy to handle the challenges of the 21st century. However, only 2% of the general public associate engineering with creativity according to Harris Poll sponsored by the American Association of Engineering Societies and IEEE-USA. In managerial decision-making, creativity involves the ability of a manager to discover novel ideas as possible alternative courses of action for the organization to use in solving a particular problem.

The lack of creativity by today’s engineers becomes critical as more businesses look for technical workers for the future workforce. According to a survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 63% of American business leaders said college graduates are not prepared for the global environment. From a market-oriented perspective, organizational leaders must be concerned with the present downward trend of American engineering schools in producing innovative students.

 Academia must overcome several potential barriers that when transforming engineering schools to centers of innovation.  Currently, there are 346 universities approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the national organization that sets standards for engineering schools. Although scientists and engineers make up only 5% of the United States population, they generate up to 50% of the Gross Domestic Product.

Sadly, fewer American students are earning degrees in engineering and science. This situation is creating a national crisis for businesses looking for innovation and creativity from the nation’s finest.

In 2004, the United States graduated roughly 70,000 undergraduate engineers while other countries such as China (600,000) and India (350,000) were graduating more engineers. Traditionally, educators attribute the high attrition rate of individuals leaving engineering majors to their inability to cope with the intrinsic hardness of technical majors and do not view it as a major problem.

However, criticism of faculty pedagogy, together with those of curriculum design and student practices, constitutes the largest group of problems for students leaving technical majors.

Demographic changes also continue to shape the realities of engineering schools. Non-traditional universities are leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage while many traditional schools are not.

Thus, the demographic changes of more women, minorities, and low income students have created social pressure on engineering schools to find other pipeline sources than the traditional sources.

In order to the fierce realities of globalization, engineering schools need to shift their strategy toward a creativity focus. Technological and cultural influences are demanding new creative solutions. Many institutional leaders operate engineering schools in a manner that suggests that innovation happens by chance. Michael Michalko, author of Thinkertoys, argues that creativity is not an accident. In fact, it must be an organization intention to foster creative-thinking strategies.

Many times engineering students lose sight of creativity and focus solely on the technical aspects of engineering. A liberal arts education provides an exchange of fresh ideas and an expansion of the creative mind.

Researcher Gary Berg argues that higher education needs to balance applied and liberal arts curricula in order to be effective. Therefore, a new approach to learning is needed in engineering schools. In tomorrow’s universities, collaborative building will be in high demand.

Unfortunately, many times faculty members discourage engineering students from acquiring a broader educational experience. Therefore, engineering schools become a place where students are inhibited from growing creatively.

Twenty-first century leaders in engineering departments must address the needs of students in becoming creative if they hope to take advantage of future opportunities in hypercompetitive environments. Some people wonder if these schools can change.

What challenges and obstacles prevent traditional institutions from producing creative engineers? How do domestic universities transition themselves into incubators of multinational innovation?

© 2011 by Daryl D. Green

Indispensability for Professionals

 

Introduction

In the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz, a cyclone sweeps Dorothy Gale and her little dog “Toto” to the magical land of Oz. Dorothy wonders through the land, meeting some strange characters.  There is the Scarecrow who desires a brain; the Tin Man who wants a heart; and the Cowardly Lion who hopes for courage. As Dorothy vows to help solve each of their individual problems, she gains power and influence that speaks to the concept of indispensability.

The future is filled with uncertainty. More and more jobs go abroad. Companies continue to shrink in size in hopes of being more competitive.  Business executives understand the power of technology and outsourcing to gain a business edge.

 However, many workers must rely on the good will of their employers to stay gainfully employed.  Sadly, many workers do not fully understand the merits of indispensability in their lives. Bloomberg Businessweek magazine editor Josh Tyrangiel called indispensability the new word of 2011. Tyrangiel notes, “How do we make people smarter and save them time?”

For my clients and students, I have emphasized the importance of building customer value in everything that they do. In fact, it is an attribute to one’s branding strategy to be unforgettable to others. However, many workers operate in the dark shadows of their organizations. Renowned preacher Richard S. Brown, Jr. proclaims to his audience, “Everyone wants to be outstanding but no one wants to stand out.” 

Yet, it is the “standing out” that catches everyone’s attention.  I’ve written several books on this new 21st-century theme, including Breaking Organizational Ties, Publishing for Professionals, and Job Strategies for the 21st Century. If you do the same things that you’ve always been doing, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you get the same results.

Gaining influence is therefore critical in achieving any substantial level of success in life. When an individual has a clear platform as an expert, people tend to listen.  In fact, a person can often gain more influence at work and in the community with a clear personal strategy. This article provides individuals with a proven method for becoming indispensable in their organizations in order to build sustainability in their professions.

The Current Market

With economic pressures, organizations look to streamline and drop processes and people that do not add value to their bottom-line. Some people sit back and hope that business will create more jobs. With a weak economic growth rate of 3%, these jobs will not rapidly appear anytime soon for the 15 million people still unemployed. This reality speaks to the record number (1.3 million) of “discouraged” workers as of last November. Discouraged workers are individuals not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.

Coping Solutions

Indispensability means adding value to your customers and organization. In the classic sense, indispensability means being absolutely essential or necessary. Yet, it goes to the heart of being relevant. Kivi Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, argues it’s important to listener to your customers: “Every day presents an opportunity to learn more about the people you are trying to help and the people who are trying to help you.” Therefore, getting to know your target audience is critical.Are you indispensible to your organization or community? If not, why not? Being indispensable speaks the pressing needs of organizations to compete in a global environment.

The following are a few strategies for gaining indispensability in your organization: (a) Devote time to solving important problems for your customer; (b) Showcase your expertise on a variety of levels (blogs, media expert, etc.); (c) Be a great source of information by writing and speaking; (d) Champion a significant cause in a nonprofit organization such as United Way; (e) Become the linchpin that connects people with problems to people with solutions; and (f) Extend your network globally with social media platforms such as Linkedin.com. Emerging leaders and individuals on the fast track understand the benefit of being indispensable to advance their careers and gain a competitive advantage.

Conclusion

Everyone wants to feel needed. Yet, the concept of indispensability goes to the heart of gaining more influence in life. Legendary speaker Dale Carnegie understood the influential attributes of indispensability: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Therefore, one must be willing to understand the needs of others if he or she hopes to gain this type of influence that will sustain his or her career in the future.  

With millions of people searching for full-time employment, it pays to distinguish yourself from others by building skills that speak to the concept of indispensability.  Individuals need to retool their thinking about indispensability before it is too late.

If the concept of indispensability is the solution for America’s professionals in the future, can today’s unemployed workers capitalize on this attribute?  If yes, how?  

© 2011 by Daryl D. Green

The Value Creation Machine

On Tuesday (November 4, 2010), political chatter was all the rage as Republicans gained control over the House, sending a clear message to President Obama that the political landscape had shifted.  The Democrats now occupy the US Presidency and Senate while the Republicans dominate the House of Republications. 

Most experts wonder if Congress will ever get anything done.  As a result of not passing a budget bill in 1995, the federal government was shutdown.  With President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich at the helm, the shutdown was fueled by political fighting.  Sadly, many people look to the government for all of the answers when their own ingenuity would work. 

Yes, the government has an important role to play. I don’t believe that market forces are always the answer to societal problems…the market is not driven by morals or ethics.  In fact, find a cheap labor force across the globe and some businesses will abandon their own creed of “America First.” 

Individuals need to take control of their lives by developing strategies to produce results.  If we are to equip people for the future as scholars, we need to make sure they understand that the future will belong to the aggressor, not the passive in the new economy. During this discussion, we will explore how companies develop value for their customers and how it contributes toward wealth building.

 In uncertain times, it’s virtually impossible to navigate the market without fully engaging customers.  Any operations that fail that economic maxim of the 21st century will fail. Management guru Brian Tracy argues that the duty of businesses is to create and keep customers: “The two most important words to keep in mind in developing a successful customer base are positioning and differentiation.”

Of course, it was possible several decades ago to create products and services without knowing the customer and later convince them to buy.  Many companies during the Industrial Revolution built their success due to scarcity of commodity, limited competition, and uneducated buyers. This is not the case today.

Today’s operations must be value conscious as it relates to the market. Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, authors of Revolutionary Wealth,  research how tomorrow’s wealth will be created, and who will get it and the wealth method. Customer value is defined as the ‘difference between what a customer gets from a product, and what he or she has to give in order to get it.’  They argue, “Today’s wealth revolution will unlock countless opportunities and new life trajectories, not only for creative business entrepreneurs but for social, cultural and educational entrepreneurs as well.”

Daniel Spulber, author of Economics and Management of Competitive Strategy, further suggests that value creation is strategic:  “Managers must pay close attention to value creation because it is the source of the company’s potential profits. The company generates value by providing products to customers, which it produces both by purchasing inputs from suppliers and supplying some of its own.” 

Spulber further outlines a value-driven strategy in three ways:  (a) to attract customers away from competitors, the company must provide sufficient customer value as compared to rival companies, (b) to attract key suppliers away from competitors, the company must offer sufficient supplier value, and (c) to attract investment capital in competition with other market investment opportunities, the company must increase the value of the firm for its investors.

Therefore, effectively managing the attribute of value creation will provide businesses with a competitive advantage.

Briefly explain how value creation has shifted from the Industrial Revolution to the Knowledge Economy and what attributes will be associated with wealth creation in the distant future?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

While on business travel, I was riding the Metro subway in Washington, DC and got off at the end of the line. The location was in a depressed area with little there for the commuter. As I waited for my ride, I saw two young boys carrying a huge box of M&Ms in hopes of selling to weary commuters. I found it amusing that these young men were catering to this market. I wondered how these inexperienced children could be so successful in business. Many individuals are not.

Our grandmothers told us to find a good government job with benefits, and we would then live happily ever after.  We found that wasn’t true.  In fact, companies are outsourcing functions like employees are disposal goods. In fact, Charles Handy, author of the Age of Paradox, predicts that we are witnessing the end of the full-time employee. In this discussion, we will focus on the freelance industry and how it contributes to the growing outsourcing market.

With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are unleashing their ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit rather than depend of others.’  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier. 

Yet, this venture is not just for the young.  Individuals 55 to 64 represented the second-largest jump in their own businesses (just behind 35- to 44- years old) from 2008 to 2009, according to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  People with talent are finding they can find work anywhere, including abroad. Websites like Elance.com turn local artists to global competitors. However, columnist Nancy Cook notes, “These sites may transform freelancers into mini-nationals, but they certainly don’t offer the wages, benefits, or perks typically associated with global blue-chip companies.” The following list represents the leading freelance websites for employment:

(1)           Elance.com

(2)           oDesk.com

(3)           Guru.com

(4)           PeoplePerHour.com

(5)           Rent A Coder.com

(6)           Demand Studios.com

(7)           Donanza.com

(8)           Sologig.com

(9)           Freelancer.com

(10)        iFreelance.com

(11)       Guru.com

(12)      Gofreelance.com

(13)      Allfreelancework.com

(14)      Worldwideworkathome.com

 Most entrepreneurs are internally driven. According to BLS, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs (February 2010) surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008. Many people are unsatisfied with their work situations.  In a Right Management poll, 60% of workers planned to leave their jobs when the market got better. 

Gam’s Barbershop is more than a haircut establishment in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is an experience. Men debate. Fans might see a UT athlete or even Coach Pearl there. However, this successful vision came from one person. Despite growing up in a single parent home and fighting numerous youth temptations, Gary Gamble wanted more. Gam explains, “I always wanted to own my own business. I went to barbershop school with my friend. My friend later quit school. I kept on going. I wanted to do something with my life.” He did. In 1993, Gam’s Barbershop was opened. However, it wasn’t easy. Gam says, “I just try to be determined and never give up.”

 

Some people just stumble on a niche. Owners Charles and Gwen Chandlers took a hobby and grew it into a business. Chandler’s Deli, known for its Southern cooking and great service, is located in the heart of an urban area. While many restaurants have failed in the area, this restaurant still stands.

Charles notes, “I think we have been successful for three reasons. They are God, determination between my wife and me, and our personal assets. God just wanted us to have it [this deli].” Currently, the couple is working with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Department to locate a distributor for their new spices. 

With the economic crisis still ahead, organizations are outsourcing more of their routine functions. Additionally, today’s workers cannot depend on their current employer to take care of their indefinitely. Therefore, being a freelance worker can provide a great alternative.

Yet, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, there is a continual demand for better services at lower prices by organizations. Therefore, many workers will become independent contractors. Yet, our nation needs to continue its economic development campaign. 

How will freelancers contribute to the outsourcing market?  What operational systems will need to be infused into traditional organizations so that they can use them?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

 


[1] “More workers start to quit” by Joe Light

Market Turbulence

For many people, the bad economic picture will not change soon enough. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, almost three-fourths of those surveyed don’t like what’s going on in the country. David Walker, the former chief of the Government Accountable Office, predicts a poorer America if the economic ship doesn’t change direction: “We’ve kicked the can down the road as far as we can. We are at the abyss.”

Market turbulence has overtaken our ability to realize the American Dream. This turbulence relates to the chaos that now plaques our financial institutions, wrecking havoc on our normalcy. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology.

In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are just happy to have a job. Yet, the hectic work environment creates severe consequences to today’s workers as well.  In our discussion, we will focus on market turbulence and how to leverage against it.

Market turbulence is transforming businesses across the globe.  International markets have been shaken.  It’s like riding first class on a cruise ship during a terrible hurricane. You have plenty of the creature comforts.

Yet, it doesn’t change your situation. You are in for a rough ride. Today, American businesses, like other nations, are on this rough ride. The hurricane is market turbulence. Stanley Gryskiewicz, author of Positive Turbulence, stresses the dangers of this rocky ride: “Turbulence is energic, forceful, catalytic, and unpredictable.” 

Many organizations do not understand what to do or how to survive it.  Stan Davis, author of Future Perfect, declares, “The external environment-technology, economy, society and so on—is changing so fast that businesses scurry to keep up. Organizations, however, simply cannot run that fast. So our organizations don’t change as fast as do the businesses that they are managing.”

Charles Handy, author of The Age of Unreason, argues “Discontinuous changes require discontinuous thinking. If the new way of doing things is going to be different from the old, not just an improvement on it, then we shall need to look at everything in a new way.”  Many managers brag about their extensive experience. 

Many managers brag about their extensive experience. However, in a market plagued by uncertainty, this experience works against traditionalists. Today change is rapid and unpredicted.  Loaded with their vast experience, managers can lead organizations into business despair. Given the large degree of uncertainty and unknowns, some organizations continue on the same path…to nowhere!

Innovative managers can leverage market turbulence to their advantage. Everywhere we look we see this disruptive change breaking down traditional thinking.  What worked yesterday, will fail today. The best companies know how to adapt to turbulence. While others downsize and contract their market efforts, great companies infuse their organizations with creativity and expand their operations, competing on their strengths. 

Management strategist Stanley Gryskiewicz argues that turbulence associated with change can be a positive force for innovation.  He recommendations four elements in taking advantage of turbulence, which are (a) difference (breaking out from the status quo, (b) multiple perspectives (inviting divergent viewpoints and nontraditional interpretations, (c) intensity (keeping the speed, volume, and force at an optimal level for change, and (d) receptivity (providing mechanisms for individuals to be able to thrive in turbulence.

Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution, suggests “In the new industrial order, the battle lines don’t run between regions and countries…In a nonlinear world, only nonlinear ideas will create wealth.” Creative expert Michael Michalko argues that creativity:  is the answer for surviving market turbulence: “It 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 creativity.”  Yet, succeeding during market turbulence is no accident. In fact, organizations must be deliberate in creating sustainable performance during market turbulence.

How do organizations effectively implement nonlinear thinking to be successful during market turbulence?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

A Special Calling as a Vocation

 

Introduction

What would it be like if you worked in a job you truly enjoyed? If you feel under-utilized in your organization, you are not alone.  On a routine basis, many employees force themselves to work without a clear purpose. Numerous people work to maintain their daily bread without ever doing what they love. Sadly, many managers are unable to inspire today’s workforce toward greater performance. Yet, emerging leaders need to know how to rekindle such emotions in the workplace. Through this blog, we will discuss how one’s calling can transform an individual’s life and perhaps improve organizational performance.

The Career Calling

Becoming more productive in life is a function of working in a career that is aligned with one’s abilities and skills. Many organizations fail to understand this simple principle. As a consequence, they have people in jobs that do not fit their abilities. Yes, the organization knows the individual’s education and career experience. However, managers are unable to understand the worker’s ability without input from that worker. There is a distinct difference between an occupation and a vocation. An occupation relates to the principal activity in an individual’s life that earns money for living.

Some people, due to their own financial situation, are forced to work in jobs they hate.  Others must occupy jobs where they are overqualified; this speaks to the issue of underemployment in our nation. Yet, many folks are slaves to their jobs simply because of the income. This situation can lead to stress, depression, and unhappiness. In fact, some people take desperate measures. According to one study, more than 30,000 Americans take their lives annually (more than three suicides for every two murders). 

A vocation is a natural alignment with one’s ability. Vocation relates to a career which a person is particularly suited or qualified to perform.  Some individuals credit this special alignment to a divine provocation. In the medieval Christian period, it was believed that God called certain people and their work was a “calling.”  This calling was usually reserved for the clergy and priest.  In the secular sense, individuals who can fully use all of their talents in a way that liberates them can make great contributions in society.

However, it does invoke a different mental journey. Marsha Sinetar, author of Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow, argues that individuals rarely take the time for introspection: “Most of us think about our jobs or our careers as a means to fulfill responsibilities to families and creditors, to gain more material comforts, and to achieve status and recognition. But we pay a high price for this kind of thinking.”  I have seen this mental awakening all around me.  I have seen my co-workers in various occupations pursue other careers. Cavanaugh Mims was one of these co-workers. He was on the fast-track to a senior position at the Department of Energy. He was a great communicator and influencer.

Yet, Cavanaugh had an entrepreneurial spirit within him. One day, he simply packed his bags at his office to chase his vision. At the time, most people thought he was insane.  His consulting business started as a gleam in Cavanaugh’s eye without any financial security blanket. Today, Visionary Solutions, LLC is a multi-million dollar business. Thus, some people are able to tap into their own calling. In fact, I am coming to this revelation about my own career aspirations.  

Therefore, it is important that individuals take the time to learn what they enjoy and what they are good at. This reality will lead them to their special calling.  In fact, one has a calling when he or she realizes what can be done with his or her God-given abilities.  Once this career revelation is realized, an individual can then take the journey toward greater happiness and job performance.

 Conclusion

As society pushes people to acquire more things in order to be happy, we become unhappy with life. It is important that individuals take a personal assessment of their own career objectives in conjunction with their own calling. High performance organizations know they must factor the human capital variable in their corporate strategies. Therefore, organizations that understand how to tap into an employee’s calling will have a competitive advantage because they will maximize the talents of their workforce. In the future, there will be a global war for talent. Businesses that understand this fact will continue to have sustainable growth. The ones that miss it will be at a competitive disadvantage.

 How can organizations tap into innate calling to increase performance of their employees?  While working in jobs that underutilize their abilities, how do employees develop and enhance their abilities?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

The Era of the Creator

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