“Being creative means standing outside of the norm; you must cultivate a willingness to challenge every rule and assumption.” – John C. Maxwell
The effects of the current pandemic have saturated the atmosphere with a high level of uncertainty. The news about the fluctuating economy can sometimes be disheartening. Can any business or industry be doing well with any degree of consistency is such an unpredictable, fragile financial climate?
Organizations were asking many similar questions during the Great Depression (August 1929 – March 1933), a few came up with some answers and are still around to tell their story, one such company is Procter & Gamble.
On their page, Who We Are, P&G Principles and Values, P&G states, "Making every day more than ordinary. Our brands are trusted in millions of living rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms—and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over the course of 181 years, they’ve challenged convention, led innovation, and helped shape culture.”(1)
If you’re creative, you’ll tend to feel at home in ever-changing environments with all its moving parts. You also can bring clarity to any random situation, while helping your team understand its usefulness to their overall purpose.
Procter & Gamble demonstrated how innovative, creative thinking in the worst of times could give birth to the onset of the best of times. P&G understood that regardless of the economy, people need soap, why not buy it from P&G? Instead of cutting back and slowing down, they invaded the airwaves, sponsoring the daily radio serial’s listening audience, homemakers became P&G’s core market.
P&G abandoned the standard “hit and run” commercial tactics of the day and began thinking long‐term development of consumer loyalty, it paid off, and nearly a century later, they’re still telling their story. At the writing of this article, the P&G stock price is still over $100 a share.
1. Be Yourself and Follow Your Instincts Know who you are and how you’re wired to function. Always guide your people to building on and working from their strengths. P&G demonstrates that it works every time.
Left Brain Leaders
Left Brain Leaders are analytically driven leaders, who rely on the hard facts and weigh the odds for success and the risks for potential failure before rendering a decision. They like to have every step mapped out – that’s how they’re wired.
Right Brain Leaders
Right Brain Leaders are creative leaders who address the same issues that analytically-driven leaders do; they just do it more intuitively. Like Michelangelo, they see the big picture and understand the risk that comes with each strike of the chisel. Yet they can sense the contours of that angel trapped within the marble.
Creative leaders are comfortable walking the tightrope between intuitiveness and analytics, and it’s vital always to combine the two. Utilizing both was a powerful component for P&G in bringing the company through the Great Depression more successful than when they entered it.
It’s said that being analytical without being intuitive makes for a brilliant non-impactful leader while being Intuitive without being analytical breeds spontaneity without direction. Always be prepared, informed, and learn to trust yourself (many times your first impressions are the best).
2. Seize the Day Momentum is the leaders’ best friend. Being a perfectionist can easily delay the usefulness of a brilliant idea. While trying to account for every possibility, or waiting for something better to come along, the door of opportunity can slam shut.
Good creative leaders have learned to anticipate problems and make adjustments on the move; that’s the mark of experienced, innovative leaders. They thrive on problem solving under pressure because they see problems as opportunities to challenge and sharpen their skills. Economic downturns are loaded with opportunities for those who look for them.
3. Surround Yourself with Creative Thinkers The saying “Great minds think alike” is just as true for a creative thinker as anyone else. Spend time with creative thinkers and be challenged and inspired by them. The help that comes from being exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking will take your creativity to new levels.
You can also try doing Logic puzzles or Sudoku to stimulate your thinking. You’ll be thinking outside the box while many remain stuck inside, waiting for something to happen. Bruce Garrabrandt says, “Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.”
4. Bring Your Best Self to the Table While it’s natural to emulate those who inspire you, don’t become a copy. Learn who you are and how you think and integrate what you learn from others. Taking self-assessments can help you understand how your strengths. Your originality is the key to turning things around.
Practicing the discipline of creative thinking will transform you and your team. You may be reading this and find that you are more analytically inclined. If so, practicing creative thinking will add to your leadership toolbox, and inspire the creative people on your team to take their skills to the next level. Either way, creativity is a win /win for you and your organization in any economy.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” — Pablo Picasso
(1) Who We Are, P&G Principles and Values https://bit.ly/2yqCjf6