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Creative Leadership: Why Do We Need It?

Business environments are susceptible to constant change due to evolving markets and shifting demands. To keep up with the challenges that companies constantly face due to the complexities of business structures, leaders must be prepared to create and carry out innovative solutions. 

According to a study by IBM, 60% of the CEOs polled agreed that creativity was the most important skill to have in a leadership role, followed by integrity (52%) and global thinking (35%). 

Traditionally, creativity has been associated with the arts. However, today, creativity has found itself in the professional environment as a quality that not only drives imagination but innovation. It is essential for companies who want to grow and compete on a global scale.

Because it is now believed that creativity is a key competency, the demand for creative leadership is on the rise. But what does creative leadership mean exactly?

Creative leadership is the ability and ambition to develop and execute innovative ideas particularly in times of uncertainty. Creative leadership seeks to tap into the cumulative creativity of the team to bring clarity to their shared goal and purpose. 

Why is there a need for creative leadership now more than ever? 

The Changing World 

The world is connected now more than ever. The digital revolution has sped up information sharing and is invariably introducing new technologies. The Internet of Things and big data are continually advancing. Discoveries in fields such as biotechnology and neuroscience are promising to bring unforeseeable change in what the human race can accomplish. 

These remarkable changes are striking people with both fear and awe. Because while they are quite exciting, the implications are yet unknown. It takes creative leadership to help us navigate through the uncertainties and hesitation that are often accompanied by change. 

Unpredictable Business Environment 

With technological advancements on the rise comes a decrease in the life expectancy of companies. Organizations who were once relevant can abruptly become obsolete in the wake of an invention that makes their products or services unnecessary and outdated. 

Such is the case with Kodak who enjoyed success for decades until the widespread acceptance and preference for digital cameras, which ironically was a Kodak innovation. We’ve also seen this happen to Blockbuster. As more and more consumers transitioned to web video and video streaming platforms such as Netflix, we witnessed Blockbuster, the most prominent video rental business of its time, decline and eventually, close its doors. 

Creative leadership is needed in times of crises to prepare and guide their teams through the changing business landscapes. It is their radical ideas that may be able to reshape an industry that is being swallowed up by threats. Creative leadership means to set aside linear thinking to devise the visionary actions to stare down the face of obscurity. 

Evolving Markets 

People change. Organizations change. Between societal issues, failing financial system, budget cuts, and the growing divide between customers, communities, and countries, creative leadership is needed now more than ever to develop solutions. 

The need to reinvent ourselves to meet the needs of the people and think beyond the bottom line and meeting business metrics is crucial for any company who wants to enjoy longevity and gain loyalty from consumers whose expectations have evolved. With people now demanding transparency and authenticity, only creative leadership can deliver this in a manner that gains the market’s trust while also preserving the organization’s integrity. 

Ultimately, creative leadership is needed by any company who wants to stay relevant. To keep up with the dramatic momentum of speed at which the world, its people, and the business landscape are changing, only creative leaders who can harness their ability to innovate can devise relevant solutions and provide direction to teams through times of transition. 

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