BLOG: Extraordinary Leadership and High Functioning Teams

Making Room for Leadership Creativity

Posted by Andrea Hopke on Thu, Sep 22, 2016

When you want your leadership team to come together and creatively identify solutions to the challenges you are facing, how do you set them and yourself up for success? How do you make room for leadership creativity?

Here’s our secret - why our clients love us. Imagine this:
  • a comfortable room with overstuffed chairs, a grey couch

  • a kitchen nearby for snacks or lunch or end of day drinks

  • a view of the city

  • a large, blank (very important) white board and lots of dry erase markers (that are new)

  • great questions and active listening

This is the physical and experiential canvas, the space into which we invite clients to spend some time identifying challenges, exploring opportunities.

We are allies in this collaborative venture. We are in this with them. Together we map out on the white board the issues, ideas to resolve, the what and the how to go about it, collaborating with them to co-create solutions to their greatest challenges.

We truly listen to their observations and concerns; we reframe to give them a new view or lens through which to observe the issue; we facilitate dialog that both encourages new ideas and challenges their existing lens. Watch below to hear from one of our clients about how our approach worked for them.


Leadership Creativity Assessment

  • Are you creating a physical space that encourages comfort, the ability to relax into new ideas; do you need to change the venue for those creativity sessions?

  • Are you facilitating dialog with a visual focus - a whiteboard or flip chart - so that everyone starts to see a similar “map” of the issue and the possibilities? This is key. We hold so much in our minds that remains unstated and assumed; if we can share a picture of what we are exploring together it moves the conversation to a whole new level.

  • Are you helping them understand the assumptions we all cart into these discussions - the paradigm that defines the prevailing opinion and challenging those views in a way that opens the aperture on the camera lens so to speak? Some common assumptions you may run into are:
    • oh, we tried that already
    • they’ll never give us budget for it
    • we don’t have the resources
    • so-and-so just doesn’t appreciate our work

  •  And at the end of the session (which, we’re sorry, but needs to be longer than 30 minutes or even an hour), are you and the group summarizing the insights, the takeaways and the timeframes for practical application?


Yes, it’s about process - moving a group through defining the goal of the conversation, the reality of the situation, the ideas or options, and then what’s next. But, even more, it’s more about the tools and the way you use them. 

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Tags: leadership secrets, leadership creativity