Creativity and the ability to imagine are essential skills for strategic leaders in the next normal. We cannot invent the new within old constraints, routine habits, or outdated assumptions. Leaders with the courage to embrace intuition, imagination, and creativity will have the edge over those who shy away.
Your success will be more closely tied to strategic prowess than in years past as you seek an edge over the competition. Experience has taught me that original thinking is essential to strategy development, especially when life is uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. We are talking about more than a one-time brainstorming activity, visioning session, or design thinking workshop. Without creativity, it is more challenging to recognize the distinctive and convert differentiation into a competitive advantage. All the data in the world won’t get you there. Just ask Steve Jobs.
Collectively, we are emerging from a past defined by benchmarks against the comparable, your company vying for a decimal point spread on Net Promoter (NPS), knowing a “10” is the only acceptable answer. Differentiation is paramount when products are essentially equivalent in quality and customer service. Imagination gives you an edge.
Artists and creatives see what others cannot. That is your aim too. My advice? Embrace an artistic practice such as painting, writing, acting, or dancing. Lean into something you’ve never done before and give yourself wholehearted permission to experiment, fail, and feel the immense joy of original expression. Select an art form that gets you out of your head and into your emotions. Stick with it and see where it takes you.
I began painting almost a decade ago, and my strategic skills are forever changed. Art-making taught me to get out of my way, not to tell myself no, and be open to the power of flow. I am more keenly able to see beyond the obvious, a skill that helped me anticipate opportunity amidst the pandemic’s swirl.
Are you ready to lead in the post-pandemic rush for growth? There’s never been a more critical time for intuition, imagination, and creativity. Please take my advice, don’t tell yourself no.