By Andrew Cravenho, an Overdrive contributor and CEO of CBAC
One of the last things that people expect from leaders and entrepreneurs is creativity.
In fact, it is quite hard to find a manager being lauded for bringing a dash of creativity to problem-solving in the boardroom.
More often than not, it is assumed that being creative is the forte of only those in the design or the writing domain. This, however, only limits the skill set and the mindset of the entrepreneur.
A lot of people associate creativity with a lack of restraint and more about self-expression and hence, something that may have the ability to bring about chaos.
One the other hand, leadership is all about order and control. This is probably the reason why creativity and entrepreneurship are considered a capricious combination.
But if you actually think that it takes only practicality and number-crunching skills to run a business successfully, think again!
Creative thinking is a huge part of good business acumen, without which your business could just go into the stagnation mode.
Here are a few good reasons why entrepreneurs need to be creative to be successful:
· It Fosters Innovation
When you create something and you’re attaching your name to it, you want to make sure that it not just satisfies customer expectations, but also exceeds them. You need to be careful and ensure that your product/service will be useful.
Although it may be difficult to see this from the beginning, especially when your offering is still just an idea, things will get much clearer as the consecutive steps unfold and the idea starts turning into a reality. This is when you will realize the difference between invention and innovation.
An idea which is unique is an invention, but an idea which is unique as well as useful is an innovation. In order to innovate, you need to be creative and look at the same thing differently. This will help you merge usefulness into a unique idea.
· Leads to Higher Overall Success
We’re always told that our intelligence will see us through everything in life. However, it is not until we mature that we realize that although intelligent thinking is a necessary quality to have, creative thinking has an important role to play as well.
The sad fact, however, remains that most educational institutes and businesses still stress more on intelligence than creativity. This could perhaps be because the former is easier to measure and manage, whereas the latter can be difficult to spot.
However, times are changing and the world has begun to realize that organizations need creative people on board as they could bring great benefits if their skills are adequately shaped and harnessed.
· It Encourages People to Think
We live in a world where creative problem solving is slowly but steadily turning out to be one of the best ways to mitigate organizational issues. It works best when coupled with sharp, highly focused and disciplined way of thinking.
People often talk about two modes of thinking – convergent and divergent. It is said that people can think in either of the two or both the modes.
Convergent thinking is extremely analytical and strives to arrive at one accurate solution to the problem. Computer systems, accounting software and various other data sources are considered to come to the solution. Most organizations are adept at this.
Divergent thinking, on the other hand, encourages creative ideas by exploring many plausible solutions for the same problem. In order to ensure that the organization gets the best resolution, it is important to combine both the modes of thinking by giving due attention to divergent pathways.
· It Helps Transcend Boundaries
Most path-breaking discoveries are made when two or more disciplines collide. That’s why it is essential that the boundaries set by disciplines blur and collisions take place.
This is important in order to get new perspectives towards problems. Creative problem solving is great because it is actually able to connect two distinct areas or expertise and enable you to extrapolate probable solutions from one field to an unrelated area.
· It Helps Increase Productivity
Being creative entails disconnecting from the familiar and moving into uncharted, unfamiliar territories, with an aim of discerning something unique and useful. It is, therefore, important that not only the leader be creative, but his employees develop such skills as well.
To enable this, an entrepreneur needs to provide them with the time and the resources necessary to discover innovative ideas and solutions to issues.
This makes for an extremely cost-effective way of increasing productivity. Creativity and innovation within an organization have always been known to bring it on the path to success.
· It Can Help Exploit Employee Potential
By not encouraging their employees to be creative, organizations are essentially utilizing only half of their potential. The good news is that employees are realizing that there is an ocean of information and creative ideas that are dormant and untapped at all levels.
Tapping all this talent can involve anything – from improving processes, making them more effective and profitable, solving performance-related issues, developing new financial strategies, or innovating to stay ahead of the herd.
· It Can Be Developed
While most people used to believe that creativity is an intrinsic trait, it is now believed that creativity is a renewable resource that can be tapped into anytime and be learned.
We’re all born with creative potential and thought process which can be developed and reinforced. Inculcating new hobbies and skills is a great way to put your inherent creative skills to the test as well as hone them. It is also an effective way to train your mind to think in a manner that leads to creative thinking.
Gone are the days when being an entrepreneur only meant analytically thinking and making decisions based only on the basis of hard facts. Progressive leaders not only prefer to hire more creative people on their team, they also work on becoming creative themselves to exhibit novelty and more usefulness in their ideas. We hope the above tips will help you understand how creativity augments your business acumen and prospects, and motivate you to give more emphasis to this aspect of entrepreneurship.
Andrew Cravenho is the CEO of CBAC, which offers accounts receivable financing. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and midsize businesses take control of their cash flow.