How to balance responsibility and creativity

Great leadership requires a delicate mix of responsibility and creativity – a complex act that will surely lead your business to growth.

Balancing the notion of responsibility and creativity is complex in business. Sure, we need to be responsible when it comes to finances, staff employment and integrity of our systems and procedures.

However, there are certain business tasks that require a more creative and intuitive approach to tap into that inner brilliance or “X Factor” as I like to call it. Employing responsibility to these tasks is a creativity killer and will limit your thinking, your success and your ability to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s make it super easy to distinguish when to use creativity over responsibility. The idea of responsibility means to respond with ability” – which requires us to search our logical and linear brain for the answer, solution or approach. Many amazing ideas do not stem from the rational brain. Einstein himself said, “I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” The computer chip (called a brain) inside our head is only programmed to know what we have already learned, so how can it possibly extend itself to new information or a new program application when it’s got an older operating system functioning?

Creativity uses the intuitive (not-logical) brain function that I refer to as the “yin” principle. Yin is internal, reflective, intuitive and multidimensional. It has no limitations. Yin is imagination – and imagination is expansive and limitless. Yang, on the other hand, is logical, linear and active. We, therefore, need to use YIN thinking for creative tasks within business and YANG thinking for logical or responsive tasks in business.

Yin business tasks include vision setting, strategic plans, new product development, deep listening and solving complex business problems, marketing ideas, connected conversations, cultural and social activities and more.

Yang business tasks are rolling out project plans, setting up processes, making calls, system implementation, emails and meetings.

When we contemplate visions and strategic plans, playing it safe means we can miss out on opportunities for change and innovation. Yin activities require us to park responsibility for a moment in time, go deeply to the heart of what is possible, and come out on the other side with ideas in tow. If we place responsibility at the forefront of the expedition, we will be continually led into that old vanilla style thinking and become as bland as everyone around us. The leader that promised us an extraordinary mountain climb instead capitulates at the first challenge of a boulder on the path to the summit. I can see the disappointment on the faces of the hiking party and their resignation of their faith in that journey.

Great leadership requires trusting your creative spark as much as your logical mind in business. You need to place yourself in the stretch zone and throw away old paradigms and structures to access a new level of imagination and play. That might include taking risks with finances, products, branding, relationships and more. It might not seem very responsible, but most breakthroughs rarely have an “I played it safe” story behind them, do they?

Debbie Pask, author and business coach specialising in mindfulness, purpose and value

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