Foundational Principles for Leaders
Change, Leadership, and Creativity
The Powerful Connection
“Leadership is about managing change—whether you’re leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative.” —Lee Iacocca
CHAPTER AT A GLANCE
What is the relationship between change, leadership, and creativity? How do these three concepts mutually support one another? Can you imagine how leadership effectiveness is dramatically enhanced when someone is able to use imagination when responding to today’s volatile climate and ever-changing conditions? The purpose of this chapter is to examine more closely the three basic pillars of this book—namely change, leadership, and creativity. To that end, we provide some basic descriptions of these concepts and highlight the degree to which change, leadership, and creativity intertwine like the strands of a rope. The chapter begins with a description of change, a concept we believe forms a bond between creativity and leadership. We then examine some contemporary descriptions of leadership that highlight a connection to creativity. Next, we provide
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES FOR LEADERS
a review of some definitions, views, and characteristics of creativity. Building on a brief review of the leadership and creativity fields, we conclude the chapter with a description of the concept we call creative leadership.
CREATIVE CHANGE: IT’S NOT CHANGING THE BABY
Quoting from Heraclitus again, “You can never step in the same river twice.” In that respect, whether you are making something that wasn’t there before or responding to what is already new or different, change is a constant process. The water looks the same, but it is different. In actuality, life and the conditions that surround it are always in motion. For example, as a natural phenomenon, your body is always changing, and this change will occur regardless of whether you want it to or not. Did you know that, because the replacement of cells in your body is an ongoing process, you actually have a new liver every 3 weeks and a new skeleton every 2 months? In its broadest sweep, there are two kinds of change. First, there is change that exists naturally and is ongoing or cyclic. For example, the sun rises and sets, seasons come and go, and your body changes and grows. Second, there is change that people make either on purpose or in response to what is happening around them. Some examples of this kind of change are changing jobs, changing your mind, and changing the way you do things—the order, the purpose, and the method. In the case of the former, change is a natural phenomenon. In the case of the latter, change may be equally natural, but it has the addition of the human element. The kind of change that is made on purpose engages your thinking process and thus requires your thinking skills. The main difference is that you apply one more deliberately than the other. In this book, we focus on the kind of change that is introduced more deliberately, that is, intentionally engaging in creative thought to develop yourself and positively influence others. In the introduction, we shared a definition of creativity developed by organizational psychologist Reginald Talbot (1997). He defined creativity as “making a change that sticks (for a while)” (p. 181). The words in this definition were selected with specific intent. Making refers to the fact that creativity is about bringing something into being. It is not enough for people to simply think that they are creative or merely to imagine new possibilities; instead, you must be able to produce both tangible and intangible products. Ultimately, we judge the quality of creative behavior by what we see, the transformation of
Change, Leadership, and Creativity: The Powerful Connection
imagination into a variety of outcomes—art, poetry, services, theories, entrepreneurial ventures, products, and solutions to a...