IBM recently released the results of its 2010 IBM Global CEO Study titled Capitalizing on Complexity. The study is based on conversations with over 1500 CEOs across all sectors worldwide.
Not surprisingly, the study cites complexity as the biggest challenge that CEOs face today. The study goes on to note that we live in a world that is more uncertain, volatile and complex than ever before. I think most of us would agree that the rules are always changing. Technology is coming at us faster than we can absorb it. There is more data to be consumed than ever before.
We live in an era of constant change.
Yet, the study identified some organizations that navigate change masterfully. What’s different about the CEO’s of these companies?
Creative leaders are thought to innovate more. They drive change in business models and revenue models. In plain English, they have new ideas. They create new products. They come up with new ways to get things done. And they don’t sit around on their butts very often. They are constantly taking action, or – as the study said – “continuously re-conceiving their strategy”. Creativity is noted as the single most important trait for navigating through the complexity.
But few of us get to be CEO. Heck, most of us never even get to talk to the CEO, so what does this mean for the typical employee?
This is where the study gets interesting… it suggests that more communication is needed. Not just communication from the top down, but also from the bottom up. It also suggests that creativity needs to exist at all levels (or in the words of the paper, “the entire organization must be equipped to be a catalyst for creativity”.) The study recommends that creative employees be recognized and rewarded.
Yes, creativity is in vogue.
I think we can expect to see HR teams hustling to update leadership assessment tools updated with a box to check off for “creativity”. But is it too much to hope for that the next time you propose to your boss that your team should do things differently that you won’t be accused of bucking the system? Or that the next time you have a brilliant idea for a new product that you might actually get the funding for it? That you will instead be rewarded for the creative genius you are?
What do you think?