In the simplest terms, a leader is one who knows where he wants to go, and gets up and goes.
– John Erskine, author
When my mother taught me how to cook, she used to say that I should always think from the end: “prepare every pot you are going to use, preheat the oven, go wash and cut your groceries” – so I wouldn’t mess the kitchen cabinets with my oily, floury hands. And she was right: it shortens the time of cooking, cleaning and the stress that arise from hurry and clumsiness.
Pretty much the same is with business. Whenever we are able to envision where we want take our project or business, it’s much easier to plan the steps along the way. But in certain times, we don’t have that clarity in which way to turn, what is the desired outcome.
That process of breakthrough ideas – “envisioning” is a rocky journey, full of ups and downs, sometimes with obstacles and sometimes is a smooth sailing across the quiet sea.
Creative leadership can benefit from those bursts of innovative thinking and
for the sake of project/business idea, the focus should be to emulate, produce and sustain those conditions as much as possible. Poetry as a tool can help us a lot:
- Follow the hunch
When the idea is still vague, undeveloped, but you have a hunch, a feeling – write a poem about it. Write about your successful project, the benefits it will bring, how you would feel after accomplishing desired results. This type of writing can stimulate positive mood and enhances your creative abilities.
- Combine and play
Creating something new can mean rearranging the existing parts into something different – with different order, structure, introducing new elements. To connect seemingly incompatible in new ways, we can produce something extraordinary and give answers to questions we have. Einstein called this Combinatorial Play.
You can summarize all of your ideas, mix them, connect in every impossible way – in poetry. There is no logic needed, there is no judgment, there is no need for “it doesn’t work” statements. Combine and Play: you might be surprised with the innovative solutions you come up.
- Look at the big picture from a detail perspective
Creative leadership is able to recognize unexpected perspectives, keeping in mind the “big picture” – end result it wants to achieve, but pays attentions to detail, and how the change in tiny, almost invisible parts can make the whole difference.
One useful example is the story of Velcro:
In 1948, de Mestral happened upon his most enduring discovery while hiking. He and his dog returned from a hike covered in burrs from the plants along the trail. De Mestral examined the burrs under a microscope, studying their structure. He began working to develop a synthetic fastening system that mimicked the hooks and loops of the burrs.
The fabric went through a number of phases before it was finalized. De Mestral worked with a weaver in France to create hooks and loops strong and durable enough to cling together as he intended. Originally crafted from cotton, the fabric ultimately proved more successful when made out of nylon. In 1955, de Mestral unveiled his innovative new material: Velcro®. The name is a combination of the French words “velours” and “crochet,” translated to English as “velvet” and “hooks.”
How poetry relates to this? While examining the world around us, analyzing ideas, exploring available resources – especially in poetry where no rational and logical thinking is required, we can accelerate our ability to see through things, how they work, connect, respond, to understand their background. It’s an unleashed creativity that process of focused logical elimination can jump-start our innovative process.
The idea by Mark Strand