The following is one of Stephen Brewster's top posts of 2011.
Creativity in leadership is expected more today than ever before. About 18 months ago, IBM sourced 150 CEO’s to ask what the most important trait in leadership had become. More than two thirds claimed creativity as the new go-to trait. This is not surprising in a world where innovation is quickly becoming the new “norm” and scaring the establishment. I mean, 15 years ago you still used a phone in your home with a cord. Now, you send emails from the phone in your pocket.
But, how does creativity translate in leadership? It’s not just marketing or ideation, creativity plays out best in leadership when it is allowed to be a natural extension of the person who stewards it; when the creative leader is allowed to look at situations, problems, systems, cultures, and then handle each scenario differently. See, it’s not as much about sitting around coming up with cool ideas or sexy campaigns as it is about doing the necessary work to find new and better ways to reach our goals.
There is no field where this could be more true than in our church world. We’ve fallen in love with our methods almost as much as our message. We’ve stopped innovating in ministry and have allowed our methods to determine what we do and when we do it. We’ve stopped creatively customizing ministry to meet the needs of our community! The reason that some churches are connecting better than others is not because of cool videos, good music or great programs. It’s because they’ve stopped being safe, challenged their methods, and started to lead creatively in their communities. These churches started to get creative with how they minister and started to GIVE something different.
Your organization is not going to morph form Xerox of the 80′s to Apple in a week. But, as the creative force of your organization, start to make small steps towards where you know you need to go. Start to challenge the status quo and ask a lot of questions. Stop accepting mediocre. If you know where we need to go, start taking us there. But, be steadfast…it WILL BE MESSY. Change creates FRICTION…and a lot of it. You will not win all the popularity contests, either, because change and creative leadership challenge our systems. People LOVE systems – but a lot of times, they’re broken. We need you to step up and help us fix it. Start today.