6 Ideas For A More Creative Leader – Part 2

1433983_61997011Hey all! It’s time to finish up the Creative Leader post with Part 2 here. Let’s get right into it with our next point…

4. A Creative Working Environment

Let’s talk more about that lightning rod that catches inspiration from a previous point in Part 1. First off –

What environment can you establish that will generate creative thoughts for you and/or your organization?

If it’s possible; use nature! A lot of people find that when they are able to see nature then they are able to get the light bulb to turn on. It’s no wonder that God’s creation has the ability to spark imagination within those who are made in His image. So can you get to a window? Maybe you can take a quick walk through a park. If all else fails you can even put up pictures of God’s creation that may move you.

As far as layout goes there are actually some companies that will design their buildings to help their people generate ideas. I know this may not be possible for most to do but hey, it’s still really cool to dream! Here’s some ideas if you happen to have access to this possibility…

– There are some software companies that actually design a “hive” workspace where everyone works together in one large room so that they have instant collaboration. Then there are small private areas where they can go to get alone for focus time.

– Other companies will actually design their conference rooms like a residential living room so that it takes on a more family oriented atmosphere. This way it breaks up whatever may be the norm.

– There are even businesses that will design the hallway to the bathroom to be extra long so that employees will be forced to talk to others while they are walking!

– Some places have small out of the way areas where people can go to just allow their mind to wander so that they can recharge. I’ve actually heard of one that puts out a couple chairs and a table with PlayDoh on it so that their people aren’t stuck creating only one type of thing throughout the day. Along these lines if you’ve never seen pictures of Google’s workspace then I really encourage you to check them out. Be warned though; you will never be the same.

5. Balancing Leadership and Management

Okay so let’s say you have this vision. This vision is awesome and wow you really want to make this happen, right? All of a sudden this annoying “management” stuff starts getting in the way though. What? Can’t we just dream and it just works or something? Gosh!

Right…back to reality. Management is needed but if it’s not balanced it can suffocate our ability to dream. If we stop dreaming then we stop creating and that’s why this point has to be here for a more creative leader.

The disconnect can happen easily. The main thing to remember is that management only maintains but only leadership can bring change. As you go higher in rank the leadership needs to raise and the management needs to lower. The problem of dream suffocation happens a lot to people at the top because they haven’t delegated enough management to others so that they can lead. As an example, when Steve Jobs was around at Apple he passed a large amount of management off to his second in charge so that he could keep being the creative entrepreneur for the company.

It’s like taking your vitamins. Don’t forget to delegate!

6. Finally – Culture, Culture and some more Culture!

What are people doing when the boss isn’t looking? That’s what defines culture in a workplace. Is your creativity flowing down the ladder?

You already have a culture where you are so why not shape it to be awesome? When we combine all these things we’ve been talking about we arrive at a place where we actually become a culture bomb that ignites people around us. When it’s “just what we do” it becomes electric. People like being a part of something that sets them on fire. Do you want a great platform to be able to talk about the Lord? Be a creator like your Father and the people He wants to hook up to your work will come running. Be a culture bomb for the Kingdom of God!

In closing I just want to mention something here… If someone comes by and wrecks your sand castle it may hurt but hey; it’s okay. It’s sand. You’ll just build a new one! Here’s the thing – Jesus sees the heart and He can restore what the locust has eaten. He can also protect what’s in your heart. Remember through these type of times what Phil. 1:6 says: 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. NASB

I love you guys and gals! Now go make something.

 

Question time! What is one simple change to your workspace that can help generate creative ideas?

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6 Ideas For A More Creative Leader – Part 1

Garden Design Blueprint SketchingDo you consider yourself creative? Where would you rate your creativity at? How about compared to others? There’s probably someone you know that you can think of right now that can just blow your mind away when it comes to creativity, isn’t there? So what makes them special? What makes creative people so creative?

Here’s the thing… I don’t like when I hear folks say that they aren’t creative. Ya know why? Because we are made in the image of God! Therefore, we all have ridiculously, amazing, powerful, stupendous, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from creativity prowess! I mean… let’s not forget where we come from aye?

There can be a number of disconnects that cause us to not see ourselves as creative. Maybe a person hasn’t found their calling yet. Maybe they stopped dreaming a while ago because of a dark moment or their hope being deferred. Whatever the cause; Jesus restores all.

Having said that, I want to bring some ideas that I’ve learned to help leaders (and those who think they aren’t leaders!) generate creativity within themselves as well as in their organizations. I believe that the Lord wants to connect His children to His creative power. He is the light of the world and we can stand to get some of His creativity in us to change this place for the better!

1. Mastery and Discipline Expertise

You know I have to start out at the stewardship level, right? Obviously we have to start from a place where we are dedicated and focused on being our best. We can’t just be our best anywhere though. We need to know where to put all this focus on! Because we are created, we don’t get to choose where our talents are; we get to discover where our talents are. On the individual level this requires research, soul search, and God search.

As far as choosing the right people for the right job though, that’s going to require a more focused hiring process than the norm. Many Fortune 500 companies know this and have made their hiring process to have multiple steps for admittance. In short – hire the best.

When people fit where they are supposed to they learn fast, act fast and adopt fast. They also mesh well with each other and it helps generate excellence within the team. Ask yourself how they will fit into the culture of the organization. The hiring process should be lengthy and deliberate. It isn’t enough to work hard. If you’ve hired a hard-working accountant who is actually an architect on the inside, then you won’t get the full talent that’s needed. God’s gift achieves more than man’s sweat.

2. Reach Outside of the Discipline for Ideas

Bridge Fields – Connecting different fields can give insight! Go look at a completely different industry and see how they deal with what you’re dealing with. Perhaps they’ve found a way to accomplish about the same thing that you are.

Blend Fields – Is there something that you can create that is a hybrid of different fields? Think about how Apple blended tech and artful design together.

3. Expect and Schedule Creativity

There’s this thought that creativity is like lightning striking and you can’t choose when or where. Well that doesn’t mean you can’t hold up a lightning rod in the middle of a field on a stormy day! We can create environments that “catch” creativity. All kinds of people have great inventions in their head. Most of them don’t get them to market though because they aren’t ready for it. Here’s some steps to make creation a routine –

1. Review what’s been done – If change is going to happen then we need a starting point to know if that change is doing us any good. Save the good parts and move on. Be careful not to get stuck on a method! Every organization needs to be reborn at some point.

2. Generate New Ideas – Instill habits within your organization to spend time on creative ideas. Schedule brainstorming! I know this sounds like a no-brainer but sometimes you will hear that there’s “just no time”. Even worse is when no one cares about what the folks down in the trenches are thinking.

3. Test Ideas – Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t let others be afraid to fail! Learn to fail fast and then move on.

4. Use the Best Ideas – In other words; do it right. When you find a good idea take the time to make it really work. One polished idea is better than the clutter of many “ok” ideas.

Part 2 to come…

Question: What is one simple habit that you can establish that will schedule an opportunity for creative ideas?

Becoming Efficient with Time

Time seems to be that one thing folks just can’t get enough of. The interesting thing about it though is that no matter where or to whom we were born we all get 24 hours a day to accomplish life. What we focus that time on is what we become or what we continue to linger as. There are many successful people in this world that even started with nothing that have the same amount of hours as the rest of us. So what’s the difference?

I wanted to bring some tips that I’ve learned from my own fevered searches for understanding on this topic so that time doesn’t remain elusive. I hope it will bring peace to your day and hey…remember that Jesus is the Lord of time and the Restorer of what the locust has eaten!

The 80/20 Rule

Many have probably heard of the 80/20 rule because it’s used in just about every subject. Basically, usually twenty percent of the work that you do is more important than the rest (the 80%). Most of the time you will have twenty percent of your customers responsible for the brunt of your work and/or pay. In the same light, during twenty percent of your workday, you will be at your highest energy level.

Everyone has a peak energy “window” of time in the day where they are able to be the most efficient. It varies from person to person but we definitely want to figure out when that is for us. A lot of times this can coincide with optimal glucose levels in the body as well. In other words, the time of the day where you’ve been without food the longest is probably not the best time to make your most important decisions.

Once you are aware of this you’ll start to see when that time is. From there just start asking “is this an 80 or 20 project?” The key is to do your “20% work” during the time that you are at your peak. When this gets lined up the time starts freeing up more.

Another thing about that window…Protect it! Don’t let people steal your peak time with menial tasks. Broadcast your availability to others so that they know when they shouldn’t interrupt you. If you need to and are able to then get away from the distractions. For instance maturity is paramount with technology at this time. If you have Twitter buzzing your phone clear off the desk then turn it off. Uncle Frank’s post about his new Bassdestroyer 2000 can be liked during the eighty percent time. Unless of course you don’t like the Bassdestroyer 2000…but who wouldn’t?

If a large amount of your time is still being spent on the eighty percent even after you’ve dealt with the twenty percent in your peak time, then the next step comes which is to –

Delegate – Automate – Outsource

If you don’t have to micromanage something and you still are…I wish I had your energy. Leaders lift others up to their own level. The whole purpose of leading is to create other leaders. If you aren’t developing others around you then you aren’t passing the baton. When you stop passing the baton your destiny becomes stagnated because you’ve stopped work on your next promotion.

Here’s something that I try to live by as a general rule for delegation – If it can be done by someone else…it should be done by someone else. Now, that’s not an excuse to become lazy so it has to be said with balance. I’m saying it here because there’s some that need to balance doing everything on their own with this statement. Remember Jesus said you have to love me. :)

What can you delegate, automate, or outsource? Yes maybe you can fix the car for cheaper. How much is your time worth though? After five trips to the store, three YouTube videos watching professionals make it look easy and 6 hours of work did you really get your money back? How much work could you have done focusing on your strengths that God gave you to make a profit faster?

God made you specifically a certain way to answer a problem that the world has. When you find out what that is, you can focus on that strength and then use the success from that to pay others to do what they were created to do. Isn’t it so relieving that you don’t have to be good at everything?

Sleep and Have Fun!

The traditional thought about work is that it should be categorized apart from fun. The problem with that is that God created work and He’s the funnest person you’ll ever meet so somewhere there’s been a disconnect. The mindset is what I’m going after with this. The thought that we are going to just go full crazy for eight or more hours straight almost every day of the week just isn’t within the confines of our design. Our brain needs a break and our body does too. God doesn’t want us sedentary in body or in mind.

There are plenty of studies out there that say taking quick naps or just taking a break to play a game or create something small can reset the brain and make us more efficient. I want to challenge you to sharpen the axe throughout the day and see how much of a difference it can make! Eccl. 10:10

 

What are some ways that you break up the day to stay efficient? Leave a comment!

 

How to write a resume… to God.

It’s easy to find resources all over the web on how to write a perfect resume. No matter what employer that you’re applying for, these strategies that they offer will supposedly give you all kinds of advantages over the other applicants, right? I mean that’s at least what they propose.

Here’s the thing though… Jesus said that He went about doing His Father’s business. He literally worked for His Father. He was in the Family business. No matter what you may do whether you wear a white collar, blue collar, or even a camo one, you work for your Father.

The name of our Family business is the Kingdom of God. We may have many different dreams and many different avenues by which we operate in our Father’s company, but at the end of the day our Boss is God Almighty.

Do you realize what amazingly awesome news that is? No matter how high on the totem pole your boss is, he or she isn’t as high as your Father is. When you’re being mistreated or ignored by them it doesn’t matter. Your Lord thinks the world of you and is always watching. If the head of your company sits in an ivory tower all day and is unreachable, God still loves to hear about your ideas and dreams. Remember that promotion comes from God (Psalm 75:6-7). All authority comes from Him and all power comes from Him (Matt 28:18). I understand that we are told to respect our authorities, but who should we endeavor to please and honor the most here?

So… Think about this. We have all this access to God to the point of boldness (Heb 4:16) and we have all this favor from Him. Why don’t we offer our resume to Him? He’s the one that’s hiring us after all. I use that word “hire” loosely seeing as it’s service to Him, but the Lord does reward for faithful service. He is our first Employer. The Bible says to commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Prov 16:3). It also says In Deut 28 that everything you set your hands to do will be blessed (according to His will).

After realizing this I decided to submit my resume to God based upon his Word instead of what the world deems important. I base it upon His Word because all of His promises are yes and amen to those who are under the blood of Jesus (2 Cor 1:20).

In a common resume you will see listed a number of credentials. You will usually have past education, past experience, interests, referrals, and usually volunteer experience. So we’re going to list these out before the Lord and submit it to our Employer in an act of prayer for His preferred employment in His Kingdom. Ya ready? Here we go…

Past Education – I submit to You Father all that Your Holy Spirit has taught me and I submit to His ongoing tutoring to make me an excellent five talent servant for your Kingdom.

Past Experience – I submit to You Father all the wilderness times and the character transformation I’ve been through. All the times that you’ve shown me that You were always there and had me in Your hands. I also submit to You all the testimonies I’ve accrued over my time with You as well as the testimonies of those who have gone before me. I do not forget what You have done for them and myself and I claim them as current and “up and coming” in my life. I expect Your Word.

Interests – I submit to You Father the dreams that You have given me. I submit to you my talents, my skills, and my aspirations. Whether they be fleshly or truly from You. Weigh them and let my true inner motives be Godly so that You can use them. Let Your blueprints be manifest in my life.

Referrals – I submit to You Father my one and only referral – Jesus Christ. The Son of God says that I am holy and unreproachable. He said that I’ve gained a seat in the heavenlies. I ask for all that He has afforded me to be and have on Earth as it is in Heaven; that my condition would match my position by the blood of the Lamb.

Volunteer Experience – I submit to You Father that I do more than what I’m paid to do so that I may be considered a steward over more than I have now. I submit to your promotion and thank You for it!

We seal this prayer in the name of the Referral – Jesus Christ. The One who is anointed to preach the gospel to the poor. The gospel which IS the power of God according to Romans 1:16. Amen!