While sitting in the garden with 3 year old Tailei, I commented that my tummy was cold. “Granny, lie back and let Mr Golden Sun relax on your tummy and keep you warm” she said while demonstrating an excellent example of what a relaxing pose should look like.
What a creative way of looking at things! Most of us would perceive this scenario as me relaxing in the sun, but not our creative 3 year old. To her “Mr Golden Sun” was relaxing on me. I felt strangely good about that, it was nice to think that I was providing some sort of comfort to the sun rather than the other way around.
This got me thinking about how we are programed to perceive things in an ordinary or common way. What incredible achievements would be within our grasp if we opened up our minds and looked at things from a totally different perspective? What if for a moment we took a step back from every day ordinary and thought like a child.
“I painted an elephant today” our 3 year old announced. “And what colour did you paint him” I asked. “Purple!” she replied with huge excitement and a twinkle in her eye. Now of course I could have told her that elephants are actually grey but the thought of a certain purple dinosaur popped into my mind and let’s face it, Barney has generated millions of dollars in income. So I, with equal enthusiasm said “That’s fantastic, I would love to meet a purple elephant!” She bounced off happily, proud of her creation and excited about the world around her.
And what does this all have to do with the business environment? Well, how many of our purple elephants have been stomped all over by management who tell us that elephants are grey, have always been grey and why would we change a perfectly good grey elephant? Now I’m not saying that purple is always the best colour, but perhaps blue is. If we just listened, considered and even brainstormed a ‘way-out’ idea, maybe together we’d come up with the most awesome elephant ever!
Creativity is essential to any business’s growth. An environment where creativity is not only encouraged but expected is the key to innovation. Nurture creativity in those you are privileged to lead. Be the leader who encourages those around them to bounce off happily, proud of their creation and excited by the world around them.