I was listening to The Employee of the Month show hosted by Catie Lazarus. She was interviewing Jill Abrams, the former NY Times Executive Editor. Great conversation, easy flow, good information shared with a fair amount of laughing. Catie's a great host and Jill's articulate, interesting.
About ten minutes into the thirty-minute conversation Catie asks:
Where were you most creative?
Jill answered at the New York Times, as Executive Editor. She explained its role in journalism and news reporting here and around the world and her resources and power to pursue an idea. I loved it.
On my mid-afternoon walk, I asked myself the same question:
Where have I been most creative?
For this art major being 'creative' doesn't mean idle afternoons on the verandah with mint juleps and a paintbrush. For me, I am most creative when I'm walking the razor's edge, facing a constant barrage of challenges, big and small. I have no time to worry about falling. The momentum from small baby-steps of success carries me forward to the next challenge. My balance is maintained with a constant push and pull. New resources, new solutions, a small victory, an 'I never knew I could do so much in so little time' moment of euphoria, a smile, a word of thanks push me forward into new challenges that push back, hard. That challenge pulls out new resources, solutions ... etc.
My background's in telecom, call-center operations where I worked in customer service, from entry-level to CEO. Every position, because of the dynamic relentless pace of change required focus, energy, resolve, stamina, patience-patience-patience as we raced to roll out new services, find new solutions, roll out new sites and try new marketing approaches, hire and train. Moment to moment, hour by hour, day by day ...
The key to my being able to be most creative was available resources including recognition, authority and autonomy and the willingness to try and fail and learn ... all set against a backdrop of change, intense competition, and moving into uncertain markets and futures.
My point is I, we, have been most successful where we've been allowed/empowered to be, even insisted to be, creative. That's why I scratch my head at companies who remain so terrified at the thought of a wee bit of creativity, personality, infiltrating their ranks.
But that's me. Where have you been most creative? What was that situation like?