The story I am about to tell you is related to the most inspiring lecture I can remember. It was last Friday, 15th of February 2013 and it opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Our guest lecturer was Piers Ibbotson, a man who has had 20 years of experience in directing and acting in the theatre and who applies some of the learnings from that to business in the most efficient way. I really felt like I was in the presence of a great man and I have now a new item on my wish list, his book – The illusion of leadership: directing creativity in business and the arts.
I won’t go on and on repeating everything that happened, but focus on the key lessons.
1. Creativity cannot exist without boundaries. Shocking at first, but true. It’s only when people have constraints that they can create. Thus, if you give a writer a blank piece of paper to write whatever they want, they will get writer’s block. If you say, I want a novel on the love story between a knight and a lady of the court in Henry VIII’s time, the mind starts working.
2. Creativity is a by-product of action: the more you do, the more people can produce iterations, the better it becomes. Creative people don’t just produce creative things, they work and work and work (a writer can rewrite a novel for 20 years, never being satisfied) and they eventually produce something beautiful (same with painting).
3. People don’t express ideas for the fear of being wrong, fear of being rude and fear of seeming mad. It is by eliminating status and bringing equality among members of a team that you can reach the true potential of creativity and expressing ideas. The role of the leader is to push the moment when no other ideas can be generated anymore ahead as far as possible, in order to allow for everyone to express themselves.