Is Creativity the Most Important Leadership Quality?

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October 21, 2015

How are leaders responding to a competitive and economic environment unlike anything that has come before? To find out, IBM conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,541 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders around the world. Those conversations, in combination statistical and financial analyses, they offer insight into the agendas and actions of global leaders. Top points:

  • Today’s complexity is only expected to rise and more than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage it
  • Creativity is the most important leadership quality
  • The most successful organizations co-create products and services with customers, and integrate customers into core processes
  • Better performers manage complexity on behalf of their organizations, customers and partners

IBM Creativity Study 1

IBM Creativity Study 2

Learning from top performers – Certain organizations have historically delivered solid business results even in the recent economic downturn. These Standout organizations come from every industry and every part of the world. Also importantly, they feel much more prepared for complexity. Based on IBM’s extensive analysis of how Standouts are unique and different, they found that CEOs who are capitalizing on complexity have focused their attention on three areas:

  • Embodying creative leadership – creative leaders consider previously unheard-of ways to drastically change the enterprise for the better, setting the stage for innovation that helps them engage more effectively with today’s customers, partners and employees
  • Reinventing customer relationships – with the Internet, new channels and globalizing customers, organizations have to rethink approaches to better understand, interact with and serve their customers and citizens
  • Building operating dexterity – while rising complexity may sound threatening at first, reframing that initial reaction is fundamentally important. Successful CEOs refashion their organizations, making them faster, more flexible and capable of using complexity to their advantage.

Does this sound like your organization?

I’ve been working with seven different groups this last year on both creativity and innovation. Give me a call if you’d like to explore how to bring creative processes to your organization and then turn them into new products and services.


BE BETTER NOW – A Leadership Call to Action – Take a moment right now to put your thoughts into action

  1. What is ONE ASPECT of your professional life that might benefit from more or different attention in this subject area (enhancing the impact you make on others)?
  1. What is ONE THING you could do TODAY that would move you more deliberately in this direction? The Behavior or action I could take (verb); I will…
  1. HOW will you ensure you are developing – WITH WHOM can you share this goal or add to your brain trust to hold yourself accountable?
  1. MAKE a 10 minute calendar appointment right now to check in with yourself on this topic next week (better yet – for each following week). Keep it practical – write brief notes on two questions only:
  • What clear steps did I take last week for my own development?
  • What will I focus on executing next week?

Need some thought partner time? – Call/email at 336.918.8415

Practical – Relevant – Immediately Useful