creative leadership

Making Space

Week 9

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This week in Creative Leadership we touch base with our three blogs to see what the creative thought leaders have to say about their practice being the best and the brightest of contemporary leadership.

In addition to reading his book Zen Habits, Leo Babauta’s current blog concerning elegance and simplicity in the days work stress the importance of making space for the things you want to do with your life. Indeed, there is no way to truly master a habit, or rule the world, without understanding that human beings only have so much attention to dedicate to things at a certain time. Leo stresses that minimal, conscious and perceptive ways to hack through the nonsense that our brain puts us through on a daily basis will hack into our ability to be focused and dedicated to our tasks and life goals. He out lines lovely approaches to simplifying desktops and lock screens by placing all candy-like objects and apps into a non-descript folder on the desktop, and gray scaling screens to get past the brains desire for new and shiny things. He goes on to simplify the systems perspectives, extolling the virtues of the Momentum add-on to keep readers focused and mindful. And, last but not least, keeping a plain old fashioned journal to keep from multitasking.

CultureSync finds us in a different direction, unpacking the virtues of Carpool Karaoke, by relating the moment to Stage 4 or 5 leadership qualities in a small moment in the car. If cultures are both enabled and limited by their leader, they argue, James Corden sets an environment in the Range Rover where, as he has said, it is there to make the guest look as good possible. He created a minimalist setting, away from the studio, staging, handlers, teleprompters, etc, and allows it to be just two people sitting listening to the guest’s music. By doing so, James as the leader deliberately set an environment for a different outcome than he could get on his set.  Obviously, CutlureSync purports that great leaders “are deliberate about the environments they set”, being that when they are not deliberate, “they default to the predecessor’s decisions or the boundaries set by the employees”. Stage 5 leadership is only in these environments where the environment is deliberate.

 Obedience is the key subject in Neil Croft’s signal boost on September 5th 2016, “Obedience is Dangerous for Organizations”. He takes a systems approach to understanding where obedience comes from, how it permeates corporate culture today, and how these students succeeded on the key notion that they were successful because they didn’t challenge the teacher. But how much obedience is a good thing and what are the risks of obedience in organizations? The catch – if you promote people for the willingness to do as they’re told, when they get to the top they won’t have any idea what to do. By outlining three places that leaders wish to avoid – catastrophe, irrelevance, bottlenecks – he lays out the understanding that working with CAUSE – a combination of vision, mission, and purpose will align leadership around their cause and encourage each level of the organization to contribute their own bit towards it with a maximum support and listening from leadership…without micromanagement.

Ultimately for me this week has been all about this systems approach to my own practice as a creative leader. I have not been a good steward of my energy and resources, half the time not being aware of how much I am multitasking and taking a spray-bullet approach to life. I didn’t see my mental health, awareness, sleep, or body as a cache to be nurtured in the pursuit of knowledge and leadership capabilities. Leo’s vantage point on small, actionable steps to make the unconscious decisions real and in the forefront of the mind is a great way to start making room for leadership growth, with CultureSync stressing the importance of this space-making for the purpose of instilling greatness in your tribe. Neils perspective was great to apply from a futures perspective. Obedience is not key – striking out is important. And now is the time to do so.

Ideal Creative Leader | Declarations

Week 7

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As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to admit when I am wrong. When I am wrong, I admit that I have things to learn from other perspectives, and from other ways of thinking. When I am wrong, I also open the door for others to be wrong without fear of failure.

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to claim my own worth in relation to the global goals. I network fearlessly, collecting tribal members from across the globe using the millennial tools at hand.  I do not react in fear and inhabit Stage 3 mentalities when creating a team. I resonate at Stage Four mentalities that I may pique the interest of other Stage Four entities who have their antennae up, looking for me.

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to play big, tackling the global issues, and not the petty low hanging fruit of other rivals. I am unafraid to find the ways my business values can address paradigm problems, and while I reach for Stage 5, I create and nurse Stage 4 with my collaborators in a stable environment. 

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to let my inner child-like nature out to play. I nurture my inner child with values of forgiveness, social responsibility, non-judgmental play, and day-dreaming. I provide myself with all the resources I need to succeed, physically and mentally.

Tribal Leadership | 3 Blogs

Week 7

This week in Creative Leadership we touch base with my chosen thought leaders in my journey to becoming an effective, emergent leader within the context of Tribal Leadership.

Diving deeper into the amalgams of Neil Croft’s annals of work, “What is Truth?  unpacks environmental repercussions of truth and lies within company culture. He discusses the need to take a look at honesty as a skill, with which we can get better at with some practice, both from the perspective of how to default to honesty and how to deal with lies. Much of truth is subjective, meaning there will often be legitimate perspectives on any situation and understanding the boundary between what is subjectively true and what is subjectively untrue can be a “question of perspectives or differences between values”. Disagreement, in this case, does not mean lies. Really, in this context, “Being honest is an exercise in constant self analysis, to calibrate our observations against our emotions and express our views more as questions or explorations than as statements”. Neil Crofts goes on to state that the best way to measure someone’s contribution to the group is through their level of honesty. If a person is more honest, listens more, and demonstrates empathy, they are less likely to lie.

In CultureSync’s blog, Carrie Kish’s post, “Your Leadership Brand”, takes tribal leadership and brands the experience, equating reputation with workplace culture. She challenges that leader’s most important assets are their reputations, because “research consistently shows that people only follow those whom they admire or respect”. The bad news is leaders do not own their own reputation, the community does. She goes on to outline what a reputation audit can do for a company – asking questions such as “what can you count on me for?”, “what can you not count on me for?”, “what advise do you have for me?”, and “is there anything else?”. From a format of radical honesty and vulnerability, Carrie submits that the best way to build a culture’s internal assets, you create value within your workplace culture.  

Zen Habit’s Leo Babauta is at it again with his zen approach to the ever present if-then statements programmed into our head, with “The Ultimate Productivity, Simplicity, Finance, Happiness, and Weight Loss Hack”. He reiterates his hallmark of “letting go” as the means to understanding why we can’t manage to get what we want – whether it is productivity, simplicity, finances, happiness, or weight loss. The answer to Leo is “letting go of the should”, loosening the grasp of the inevitable, so that we can enjoy the present.  

Contextualizing these leadership blogs with my reading in Tribal Leadership, I’m reminded that folks that reside in Stage 2 and 3 of Tribal Leadership are caught in loops of negativity that prevent them from rising into Stage 4 and 5. Honesty and lying are a huge measure of whether or not a workplace culture is performing the way that they should to help each other commit to a “we’re great” mentality. Crofts explains it succinctly in “What is Truth?”

“These individuals perceive everyone else as being engaged in the same dog eat dog competition, a brutally Darwinian interpretation of society.  Either being honest is not one of their values, so they experience no shame when they are caught out or they have a facility to rationalise any situation entirely subjectively and in their own interests.”

In CultureSync, attracting Stage 4 leaders and tribe members to your group isn’t easy – it resides on whether or not you as a leader are cultivating your biggest asset, your reputation. Without your reputation, you are bound to remain at Stage 3, or worse Stage 2. Leo, in his round about way, talks about an internal view for this reason. By echoing the same sentiment Carrie mentions in her post, and the consistent need for self reflection in the assessment of dishonesty in the workplace, Babauta gives a simple framework within which individual reflection can happen – for the culture shift to begin with you.

I have been greatly enjoying the lenses within which Creative Leadership can blossom, and how all these disparate thought leaders come together to create a larger, synchronized discourse surrounding collaboration.