Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Creative Leader Workshop

Last week, I mentioned being intrigued by comments from participants in the workshop entitled the Creative Leader. Before I can share the comment, I need to explain about one part of the workshop.

Over time I have learned that there are many ways to teach leadership concepts and I have used two of my favorite activities as extended metaphors to engage people in an exploration of different aspects of leadership. Leadership Dance and Leadership Yoga are two of the more popular results of this creative effort. Based on comments over the years, this way of using activities or hobbies that I enjoy strikes people as very unusual, as something they are not able to do. So The Creative Leader is one workshop designed to help people demystify this creative process.

The primary activity is simple. I ask everyone in the room to put their favorite hobby on a scrap of paper and hand it over to me. I shuffle them while they get organized into smaller groups of 5-7 people. Then each group draws one hobby from those in my hands. Once we're clear on what the hobby is, some are a bit obscure, I announce that their task is to design a leadership workshop based on that hobby and they have ten minutes to do so.

To the amazement of most participants, they are able to complete the assignment. Some hobbies work better for the topic of leadership than others. Some groups get more involved in their workshop than other groups. Some are very funny and clever whether or not they will actually work. A couple of ideas have been sheer genius! But everyone comes up with enough that with very little work they could develop a full-fledged workshop.

The comment I want to share is a variation on this theme. - 'I never would have thought we could come up with so many workable (clever, creative, useable) ideas so quickly.' It reminds me yet again, that so often it is our ideas about what we can and can't do that limit us. Much more so than money, or time, or The Rules. Our preconceived notions about how much time brainstorming takes keeps us from using small bits of time well. Our conception about our creative ability or the creative ability of others can mean we don't even try something different.

Next time you're stuck and need an idea for a workshop or a presentation or an article, pull out your favorite hobby, something you know well and apply it to the topic at hand. Maybe it will work perfectly, maybe it won't. But I can guarantee you, it will help you find a fresh way of looking at the topic. And that's an important leadership skill for all of us.

Best wishes,


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