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June 1, 2011

Leveraging Creative Leadership to Change the Situation

by aliciaarnold
Various types of chocolate.

Image via Wikipedia

When our prehistoric ancestors sensed change they saw two options – fight or flight.  For those of us who tap into creativity, there’s a third alternative. Namely, to use our natural creative abilities to modify the situation. Even the youngest among us know how to tap into creative thinking to alter outcomes. My 5-year old son is a master at changing the situation – especially when it comes to getting chocolate. He clasps his hands together, puts on a really cute face, and says, “pleeeease.”

In my family we refer to this as “begging face.” It works so well that when my older son wants something, he convinces his younger brother to “do” begging face.

How might we apply this strategy to the workplace?

First, let’s consider my 5-year old’s objective. He had one very clear goal…to get chocolate. In order to change the situation at work, it is important to understand what your goal is. Think about what you are looking to achieve and keep sight of it.

Second, my 5-year old prototyped many different ways to get chocolate. He experimented with different words, different behaviors, and by asking different people. In the workplace, take a look around and survey what works. Are there particular norms or ways of doing things that seem to be effective? Consider your findings and prototype solutions.

Third, find ways to create win-win situations. Make a list of helpers, or people who can assist you in reaching your goal. Now, think about what motivates each of these folks. Finding a way to tie your goal to something that motivates your co-workers will create momentum.

The next time you’re looking to change the situation, there’s a third alternative to fighting or retreating. Try tapping into creative leadership to change the outcome.

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