We face a conundrum in families, churches, and businesses alike. We need more creativity than ever, to relate to, communicate with, and shape a dramatically changing world. But for various reasons, the creativity genie is stuck in the bottle. Why?
Here are my “Top 5.” What would you add?
1. Our traditional western educational model systematically quenches creativity and steers us into conformity. Many of us have suppressed our imagination for so long, it’s just a faint flicker not a roaring fire. We need new models!
2. As Sir Ken Robinson has said, we’ve been told by so many people that we can “never make a living” with music, art, sculpture, dance, and drama that we now believe them, and we’ve resigned ourselves to left-brain activities instead. We need a right-brain revival!
3. We’re afraid. Afraid of having an idea ridiculed. Afraid of a boss telling us to “stay in your lane.” Afraid of failure! Be more afraid of failing to try, than trying and failing!
4. We don’t care. We’re content to just leave all the thinking to someone else. Besides, we’re busy. We’re tired. We’re new. We’re young. We’re old. Excuses never lead to break-throughs!
5. We feel under-resourced. Even if we came up with something new and exciting, could we pull it off? There’s probably not enough time; surely not enough money. Let’s hide behind the budget. Resources usually follow conviction, not complaint!
For decades (and longer) “vision” has been a primary focus for leaders and leadership. We’ve been told that if we can catch and cast vision, everything else follows. But I’d like to suggest that real vision — compelling vision, transformational vision — is just a sub-category of creativity.
The real threat to effective leadership is not lack of vision but our inability to think; specifically, to think creatively. We mimic what we see, rather than make something new. We copy what is common, rather than create something catalytic. We repeat what we’ve done before rather than carve out a new way.
The life of Jesus was marked by renewal and creativity; new ways to see the world, to understand God, and to build community. Following Him surely calls us to more of the same.
If you lead others, lead them into creativity. What are the main hurdles standing in your way?
— David Timms
Transformational leadership involves “producing change and building lives through authenticity, inspiration, empathy, and innovation.” This Fall, we plan to write specifically on the topic of unlearning conformity and unleashing creativity. It’s a crucial theme that is rarely discussed in leadership literature. Thanks for joining us on the journey.
September 4, 2018 at 8:13 am
Thanks David for putting words to what I have been sensing for some time. This blog feels like the breath of fresh air I have been needing and I am already captivated by the concept of transformational leadership. I keep finding myself reflecting upon it and the exciting potential it holds. I am pleased to be joining this journey of thought from the other side of the world. Thank you
September 4, 2018 at 11:14 am
Lauren, transformational leadership has been deeply energizing for me over this past 18-24 months. I’m so glad to have you join this online community. Would love to hear your insights along the way, too! Blessings.
September 4, 2018 at 8:09 pm
Could ignorance/arrogance be another reason? I think that we often stifle creativity in others by not taking the time to listen to their ideas. Sometimes we don’t allow others to come up with creative solutions—we either don’t take them seriously or just don’t take the time to listen. I see this in all areas of leadership (and I’ve seen it span all kinds of careers—from education to churches).
September 5, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Tim, you’ve come at this from another perspective … not just why we might be less than enthusiastic about creativity, but why we might fail to release it in others. I think you’re dead right on these possibilities. 🙂
September 6, 2018 at 7:48 pm
David, I love the way you think. I’m an artist by trade, and even I don’t always look to my own creative skills when it comes to spiritual gifts. Rather I think of some physical kind of work, as when volunteering. Your absolutely right about how we view creative opinion or council, and hopefully your blog will start a movement towards giving those with creative gifts a greater regard when it comes to the Church.
September 6, 2018 at 7:53 pm
Mark, I hope so, too! I’m guessing you are in your happiest space when you are in meaningful relationships and being an artist! We need you and a million like you to start a Movement (by God’s grace). 🙂 Thanks for taking time to drop a note.