Erik Wahl, a world-renowned artist and corporate creativity teacher, shared the steps to applying creativity to solve business problems during his keynote presentation at the 2013 International LCT Show.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Raise your hand if you are an artist.
Okay, now raise your hand, because you really are an artist. If you want to experience breakthrough creativity to solve your limousine business’ problems, you first have to acknowledge this fact, says Erik Wahl, the internationally recognized artist and corporate creativity coach who presented a keynote at the 2013 International LCT Show.
“You were born an artist — an individual with a large capacity to learn, adapt, and develop new ideas and solutions at any moment,” Wahl writes in chapter two of his book Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, excerpts of which were provided at the 2013 International LCT Show. For business owners and entrepreneurs, the ability to develop new ideas and solutions at a moment’s notice is invaluable in today’s uncertain economy, where a business faces constant challenges and threats from all directions.
So how exactly does one transform into a leader armed with creative savvy to solve problems on the fly?
Exercise the Right Side of the Brain
The right side of the brain is conceptual, creative, intuitive and imaginative, while the left side is logical, analytical, precise and literal. The nature of business tends to result in overuse of the left side, and logical and precise analysis rule the day. But sometimes problems arise that perplex our analytical side and shut down proven solutions. That’s when right-side thinking thrives; the right side of the brain excels in experimenting with elements to create new answers. Spend some time drawing, painting, daydreaming or dancing to stretch the right side of the brain and unlock original ideas. Like a muscle, creative mentality needs to be exercised to grow.
“The concept of creativity in your business, to grow and adapt and innovate to find creative strategies, is a learned and practiced and disciplined skill,” Wahl says. “Innovation is the key driver for future success in business. To foster it, let go of critical thinking and embrace unthinking.”
Wahl paints an inverted portrait of Albert Einstein. Leaders need to turn their way of thinking upside down to see new insights and achieve breakthrough genius, Wahl says.
Managing FEAR Outside Comfort Zone
“To break outside traditional thinking, you need to break out of your comfort zone to create disruptive strategies,” Wahl says. “Sometimes it pays to take a risk, take ownership and take action on new ideas.” Leaving one’s comfort zone can create feelings of fear, but Wahl says “fear” is an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Fear kills performance. To manage fear, Wahl looks at Navy SEALs, the elite commando unit that terminated Osama Bin Laden’s reign of terror.
“SEALs maintain peak performance in adverse situations through three core elements: The ability to focus, the ability to commit, and the ability to adapt. Our greatest growth takes place in the border between chaos and order,” Wahl says.
For creativity to thrive in a business setting, the right corporate culture must be established or else innovation will wither and die. Culture begins at the top. Leaders must provide examples of who they want their employees to be and how they want them to think. “The art of leadership is couched firmly in the science of reprogramming our minds and finding ways to build emotional commitment and connection,” Wahl says.
Leaders must encourage employees to come up with and contribute their ideas to the operation. “Creativity is the new corporate capital. At the end of the day, culture is going to eat strategy for breakfast.”