Join Nancy Napier for an in-depth discussion in this video Discipline 4: Setting up creative leadership roles, part of Building Creative Organizations.
So, you want to encourage creativity in your firm. You've hired some great people, looked outside your field for ideas and you're building creativity as a habit for your organization. But there are a few more disciplines to think about and implement. One of the most important disciplines is to understand the kinds of leadership roles that help encourage creativity. If you think about Apple or Microsoft, what sorts of leaders do you think of? Surely, you think of Steve Job and Bill Gates as visionaries for their firms and for their industries.
But someone has to be able to translate those visions into something that the rest of the world could understand. And then, other people make those visions happen. Creative organizations tend to have three types of roles to fill, creative entrepreneurs or visionaries who explain why and where the firm can go. Creative leaders who translate that vision into what needs to happen. And creative teams who figure out how to take the vision and make it come true.
Let's talk about each of those. A creative entrepreneur is a person who can really see a direction and a vision others may not. I remember, years ago, reading that upstart Steve Jobs had a vision to put a computer on the desk of every school child in the world talk about thinking big. That vision was something people can see and obviously was a stretch fast forward to what the company is now. Maybe you should have said put a phone in the hand of every person world wide. The idea of creative visionary applies all over the world. Vietnam is the World's number two exporter of coffee, imagine that. And the CEO of the country's largest coffee firm, Chung Win Coffee, is a creative entrepreneur for his firm but also for his country to be creative and be a place that others will go to for ideas.
The idea is that the creative entrepreneur articulates a vision, a creative direction for the firm or for a country. But to make it reality, someone has to turn that big idea into a more tangible, doable target. What exactly does it mean to put a computer on the desk of every child in the world? What types of computers and what sorts of resources would the firm need to do. For Steve Jobs, Tim Cook has played that role of creative leader.
A role that figures out which ideas will be feasible in the coming year or so. And which to put on hold for later. The last creative leadership role is a creative team. These are the people who figure out how to make the ideas into something to sell or use and since forming these teams is important, let's talk about that for a minute. A creative team needs to be diverse, especially in how members think in their approaches to problem and in their willingness to listen to different views.
Leaders form those teams and at least two different ways. Some firms use a drafting process where managers ask certain players to join a team. Which can build in a little internal competition among employees to be the best they can. So they will get to go join great team. Other firms use self selection where the members select the team manager they want to work with. That of course, spurs the managers to best they can so people would want to be on the team.
Now, I want you to think about who plays each role in your own firm? Creative entrepreneurs who determine why and where to go, creative leaders who articulate what that vision means? And finally the creative team, who decides how to make the vision a reality. If you're missing any of those roles, think about who you might have, who can fill them.