A good leader always seem to be the one that can find or facilitate the solution to a persistent problem and tends to more creative in their thinking rather than reactive. In business, they anticipate future demands & trends and make new products or tailor the ones they already have to suit that future.
We live in an ever and rapidly changing world, that’s why it’s more important than ever, as leaders, to take the time to understand how these changes will affect your business, your team, your life…and establish ways to take full advantage of those changes.
So, in order to grow yourself, your team, and drive your business forward, you’ve got to become much better at starting things, solving the difficult problems and at making things new…or making new things.
Don’t believe me? Then believe Jim Collins who takes a research, data and long-term view of what works and what doesn’t in business. In an old-ish (2002) article in Fast Company magazine (“The Secret Life of the CEO: Is the economy just built to flip?“), Jim Collins (author of “Good to Great“) wrote that the best leaders don’t focus as much on beating the competition as they do on making their own products and services better than they were before. As true then as it is now.
Creative business leaders are always asking themselves the following questions:
- What do potential customers really need, now?
- What worries them?
- What causes them pain?
- What would they be eager to buy?”
- How can I make our current customers happier?
- How can we make the products we sell them better?
- More useful?
- More valuable?”
Do you ask yourself these questions? Regularly? And if you do…do you come up with not just good, but GREAT answers…answers that can really advance your business?
Test your creative skills against the following checklist ……ask yourself…are you:
- Internally driven
- Focused on the work, not politics
- Goal-oriented around, rather than crisis-centered
- Good relationship builder
- Make full use of your strongest talents
- Set aggressive long-term goals
The above are all characteristics of creative leaders. Here are the traits of “reactive” leaders. They generally:
- Are motivated by external factors like money and power
- Are focused on corporate politics, not the work
- Allow their time to be dictated by what’s in their inbox
- Sometimes ignore their strongest talents in favor of “good management”
- Plan in one- to five-year increments
- They believe nothing is sacred and relationships are expendable
How many of those reactive characteristics apply to you? How would you grade yourself?
The best leaders are indeed long-term oriented, people-friendly, loyal, eager to provide better products & services, and unconcerned about where they stand in just about any pecking order…either in their industry or within their business.
Final word: Now, I am not saying that we can all be perfect all of the time or that a perfectly creative leader exists. What I am saying is that the more that we increase our awareness of who we are and are aware of the opportunity cost of our reactive behaviour then the easier it will be to nurture the creative leader in us all.
What do you think?