Burt Rutan was once quoted as saying, "If you don't have confidence in nonsense you cannot have a breakthrough." His "nonsense" culminated in a 1986 flight of the Voyager aircraft. It was an aircraft that traveled around the world non-stop without refueling. The power in his wise statement is strong, because without questioning what we perceive as "normal," his flight and much of what we have today would not exist.
For leadership or management, understanding the word creativity brings to mind group training sessions or books such as Getting it Right the Second Time by Michael Gershman. Creativity is more. Creativity gives us visions of our history, such as the battles won, buildings created, art sculpted, or even ideas developed. Stephen Hawking has the ability to quietly lead our thoughts and actions from his wheelchair. Ray Krock of McDonalds was credited with a new style of business. Henry Ford created the assembly line. Today, these once-revolutionary ideas are commonplace; yet they were conceived from "nonsense."
Creativity is a leadership trait (although we don't always have to be in the lead to be creative.) For the leader, being creative has as much power as knowing that "the buck stops here." Good leaders know that nearly every day they will be called upon to make decisions that will affect their image and success as leader. Do they have the capacity to transform good to bad, crooked to straight, or broken to fixed? Being creative means utilizing one's decision-making abilities with confidence and exercising the mind with breakthrough thinking.
Intuitive Surgical Inc. ( www.intuitivesurgical.com ) is a breakthrough company that's on the cutting edge of medical science. It has developed surgical tools that can simulate a surgeon's wrists, hands and fingers in real time. The tools have full dexterity of motion while the operator uses mechanical controls to do even the finest surgery. Aptly named the da Vinci Surgical System, it suggests that the future of medicine may never be the same.
Let's do a creative jump. If a surgeon can be ten feet away from the patient and perform microscopic surgery, then combining other technologies available today, the distance between surgeon and patient may be 100 miles or 1,000 miles apart. As bandwidth increases, this "nonsensical" approach to medicine may be knocking at our door. Patients would be operated on without travel. Robotics could conceivably replace not only the hands of the surgeon but, one day, replace the surgeon him/herself. If you think that's nonsense, compare the da Vinci Surgical System to manufacturing equipment that has replaced human workers.
"If you can dream it, you can believe it. If you can believe it, it can be done." That famous quote holds the essence of creativity that is built within all of us. To begin to exercise your creative potential:
1. Challenge steadfast truths. "The world is round."
2. Focus on alternatives. Don't read this text; see 1’s and 0's.
3. Don't accept your first response. Sit and wait for answer Mumber 7.
4. Forget reorganizing. Put it in the trash and start again.
5. Modify your relaxation. Take flying lessons or take a course in graphology. (Do you know what it is?)
Individuals must make the shift in thought in order to make the shift while in leadership positions. The first step is always the hardest.
© MM David & Lorrie Goldsmith
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