As leaders it’s vital to keep one eye on your organisation, one eye on the market and a third eye on growing your own leadership capability.
Traditional leadership models and methodologies have served us well but as our economy shifts from industrial to information to experience we need to look further.
One area that has been largely overlooked is the Arts.
Art and business have long been at odds. Outside of the creative industries, investing in your imagination has been a hard sell. Especially when measured against leadership qualities like productivity and efficiency.
But all that is starting to change. According to the Foundation for Young Australians, which looked at the data of over 4.2 million job listings in the last 3 years, any job that listed creativity as an attribute had an average salary boost of $3,129 p.a
Couple that with the World Economic Forum placing Creativity as the 10th most important skill for contemporary leadership in 2015. And even more important, predict it will skyrocket to number 3 by 2020.
The world has spoken. Creativity is in and Art is a great place to go to get skilled up.
Problem is, learning to play an instrument, or work with watercolour, takes years. But as leaders, we don’t have years. We need to find ways to lead more creatively TODAY and preferably without having to hammer out scales for hours on end.
Thankfully there is something we can do. And it’s less about learning and all about owning that we already are an Artist.
Truth is, you don’t have to make Art to feel, act and lead like an Artist. Art is largely just an attitude. In the words of a talented young gypsy and acclaimed author of Just Do 5omething, ‘Art is not something you do, but something you are’.
Even more interestingly, just entertaining the idea that you are a ‘Creative type’ you’ll open your mind up to thinking in more creative ways.
In a recent study called, The Creative Stereotype Effect,researches at the University of Georgia found that thinking of yourself as an Artist (or Creative Stereotype) before being tested resulted in significant increases in divergent thinking.
By owning your Artistry you allow it to emerge.
It's kind of like Morpheus beloowing at Neo in the Matrix, 'stop trying to hit me and hit me!'
Perhaps it's time we stopped thinking of ourselves as uncreative, and just owned that we are...
We’ve seen similar cognitive hacks in the way an athlete would mentally rehearse for a big race. By imagining every detail of a successful run they hope to pre-emptively embed the experience of high performance into their neural pathways.
To be clear, there is no substitute for time and experience. Just like a long marriage, there is a depth to lasting love that can’t be hacked or hurried. For real results in building your Creative Leadership I recommend actively engaging in more Art.
But in the meantime, when faced with the mayhem of next Monday morning, why not strut into the office like Hendrix and let the voodoo magic of owning your Artistry drive a different & divergent kind of result.