Creativity Coaching & Corporate Culture

Dear Cultivate & Create followers,

I’m sorry I’ve been absent!

I’ve spent the past week or two reassessing, rejuvenating and reinspiring. As the last post notes we’re also repositioning here at The Creativity Campus.

Part of this means marketing less, learning more and creating in our own lives to better inform our understanding of clients. That said I wanted to share with you some amazing developments.

We’ve begun one on-one-creativity coaching this week. This work, aimed at those who are struggling in some way to bring their best ideas to life, is incredibly fulfilling and interesting.

Though very flexible it currently entails a weekly meeting (in person or on the phone) with a client to discuss their work and their concerns. From there we offer support and strategies to help address the obstacles.  These can come as routines, activities or simple conversations. The programs are custom fit to each client and their needs.

Right now I’m working primarily with writers and designers but this coaching is also intended for entrepreneurs, CEOs and professionals whose work is dependent on coming up with or presenting ideas.

It is also beneficial for those who are looking for stimulation or support when developing corporate strategies or workplace processes that call for innovation at a deep level. So much of this is about environment, staff programs and leadership so it often includes office visits and work with relevant staff members.

With this in mind I have spent the morning mentoring a new cohort of entrepreneurs at a local incubator. It was incredibly inspiring. The energy and openness of the founders was infectious and I feel very lucky to be working with such a great group of smart and ambitious people.

As part of this experience I spoke much about corporate culture and the importance of leadership and passion. When I got back to my office I opened one of my favourite blogs and read this article, 30 Lessons for Living.

It’s full of great points collected from thousands of interviews with “the wisest Americans”. So much resonated but the advice on work was particularly interesting.

Find Happiness at Work

One of the most striking points is what the thousand-plus experts didn’t say.

No one— not a single person out of a thousand— said that  to be happy you should try to work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.

No one— not a single person— said it’s important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it’s real success.

No one— not a single person— said you should choose your  work based on your desired future earning power.

You need Interpersonal Skills

Their consensus: no matter how talented you are, no matter  how brilliant— you must have interpersonal skills to succeed.

Everyone Needs Autonomy

Career satisfaction is often dependent on how much autonomy  you have on the job. Look for the freedom to make decisions and move in directions that interest you, without too much control from the top.

So much of what matters when one looks at successful corporate culture is soft skills based. It’s not about firmly quantifiable metrics or dollar based CBAs. Culture is what makes employees love their work and want to stick around to make sure it’s delivered in the best possible way. It’s what helps them feel proud of their achievements and encourages them to band together as a team to address challenges when times get tough.

The best leaders recognize that amazing human capital is the most rare commodity and that holding on to it is difficult and important. They invest in professional development and recognize their employees are unique and human and have a range of needs and priorities that should be acknowledged.

I’m not suggesting that companies should spend willy nilly, handhold excessively or indulge unreasonable demands or poor attendance however it is often meeting the smallest requests (like flexible work hours) or instituting seemingly tiny sentimental incentives (acknowledgement for an imaginative idea, strong pitch or effective community building event) that fosters the greatest loyalty.

The advice above really reflects that.  People want to love the company they work for, to enjoy their office and to feel ownership and pride in their work and the fact is – the CEO, company or founder is the first to reap the rewards if they do.

Thanks for subscribing and for being patient with our Campus as it grows. We love our work and helping our clients achieve their dreams.

Do get in touch with any questions, curiosity or feedback – we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Tuesday!

Laura

30 Lessons For Living

Why is Creativity Important in Education?

Hey!

So this is the first blog post coming out of The Creativity Campus and I thought it only natural to build it off of the company’s initial inspiration.

Sir Ken Robinson is a world leader in creativity and education. At TED in 2006 he spoke about how schools are killing our creativity. It has since become most watched TED talk with over 14m views as of August 2012.

Recently Sir Ken sat down with Adobe to talk about why creativity in education is so important from an economic and business perspective. There were a couple of real, standout points for me when I watched the video.

First, Sir Ken notes that we shape our curriculum on what we deem important today as the workforce skills of the future. We determine this on the assumption that the future will develop along a linear path, that we can predict what is to come.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, nothing is further from the truth. Over the past 25 years we’ve witnessed enough revolutionary technological change to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that predicting the future doesn’t work.

I was educated in the 1980s and 1990s. There were no classes on the value or implications of social media, I didn’t have the chance to learn to code or even consider the possibility of using an ipad in the classroom, let alone the workplace. Keyboarding and words per minute were the only computer connections one made and yet, for my entire working life the internet has been an integral source of information and tool for marketing, career development, research, learning and social connection.

Though I went to an amazing alternative school for high school the fact remains that most of what I learned, the facts, dates and important names and theories, can all be accessed with a few finger taps on my iPhone.

Realistically, what we can count on as consumers, parents, CEOs and members of society is that the world will change in ways that we have no way of predicting or preparing for. I couldn’t be educated about social media because social media didn’t really exist.

As support Sir Ken refers to this survey by IBM of over 3,000 CEOs which notes:

What we heard through the course of these in-depth discussions is that events, threats and
opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they
are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations.
These firsts-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees
of creativity—which has become a more important leadership quality than
attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen.

A more important quality than management discipline or operational acumen? Creativity is more important to CEOs than business skills?  This is yet another aspect of the future that most of us wouldn’t have predicted.

But, clearly, if thousands of CEOs are so focused on creativity than we should be too.

Whether we’re looking at career advancement for ourselves, entrepreneurial growth as business owners or the preparedness of our kids as we send them off in to the workplace the research shows that creativity is something that deserves at least a little more focus.

Unfortunately, in an learning environment of limited resources and increased standardization this is actually the opposite of what is happening in many cases. So the question becomes – how do we cultivate these skills for ourselves? How can we build activities and exercises into our daily lives that nurture the qualities that employers want?

I guess that’s why this is the first post and it was certainly the inspiration for my work. I was a super creative kid who thought that I had to give up the fun, imagination driven stuff that I enjoyed in order to get a job and make money. My building of this campus is as much for my creative fulfillment as it is for that of every  participant. I want a life that is fun and purposeful, that serves a greater need while giving me a space to build and create and interact with new people as they grow and explore their potential.

We were all children who had amazing creative powers, whether it was the ability to come up with the best games at recess, the quickest path to the value of X in algebra or the prettiest sounding ditty on the recorder. Creativity doesn’t come in one form and it’s not restricted to artists.

As far as I can tell, if we don’t break down those limited views of the value of a creative mind then we’ll be doing our children, our employees, our businesses and ourselves a disservice.

But that’s just me, what do you think? Have I drunk too much of the Ken Robinson kool-aid?

(For more Creativity resources check out our Links section)