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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Yes, AndIn Yes, And, The Second City executives Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton describe how the fundamentals of great improvisational comedy and can be applied to business. Tapping into their years of experience running the theater troupe responsible for some of today’s biggest comedy superstars, Leonard and Yorton provide leaders with a guide to using improv skills to increase their employees’ engagement and innovation output. In order to master successful improvisation, leaders must enable their employees to say, “Yes, and…” to new ideas and work as ensembles by eliminating their fear of failure.

According to Leonard and Yorton:

  • Leaders must embrace the fundamentals of great improvisation. By promoting the values of creativity, communication, and collaboration, organizations can improve their employee engagement, innovation output, and customer relations.
  • As organizations start to improvise more, they must affirm and build upon employees’ ideas. When organizations take the ideas their employees put forward under serious consideration, they embrace the two fundamental words of improvisation: “Yes, and…”
  • It is vital for organizations to promote their teams to work as ensembles. To work together as effective ensembles, employees must learn how to put their teams’ goals ahead of their own personal glory.
  • Co-creation is a powerful tool that takes improvisation to the next level. Just as improvisers take creative suggestions from other performers and audience members, organizations can improve their final products by involving their customers in the creative process.
  • Failure must be viewed as part of the creative process. By acknowledging that failure is not the opposite of success, organizations can produce more cutting-edge innovations.
  • Everyone in an organization must learn to listen deeply. Leaders can broaden their employees’ perspectives and increase their creative output by teaching them to listen for the sake of truly understanding others–not just responding.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Mind GymSometimes life’s circumstances are out of people’s control. However, how individuals think, feel, and behave as a result of those circumstances is very much within their control. It is simply a matter of learning to think, react, and respond in positive and productive ways. In Mind Gym, authors Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black share scientifically based exercises and techniques anyone can use to train the mind to think positively and productively, including resetting thoughts, taking control, deepening connections, persuading others, resolving conflict, letting creative juices flow, and minimizing stress. The result is a more successful, fulfilling life.

Mind Gym provides techniques individuals can use to control and change their thoughts and actions in order to have more successful lives:

  • Resetting the mind from automatic thinking to conscious, attentive, optimistic thinking.
  • Taking control of actions and overcoming procrastination.
  • Deepening connections with others and adopting an “I’m Okay/You’re Okay” mind-set.
  • Persuading others in order to enhance personal relationships and achieve objectives.
  • Resolving conflict by breaking destructive communication patterns, engaging in authentic dialog, and removing drama from relationships.
  • Letting creative juices flow to accentuate inspiration and innovation.
  • Minimizing stress in order to maximize bliss.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Mindfulness at WorkThe professional world is characterized by high levels of stress, discontentment, and burnout. Individuals spend their entire lives laboring in their chosen professions, and the joyless attitudes that define much of the modern approach to work produces palpably unpleasant results. Spurred by the prevalence of mindless misery in the workplace, Dr. Stephen McKenzie pennedMindfulness at Work in an attempt to introduce the meditative discipline of mindfulness to today’s modern professionals. By offering helpful tips on integrating mindfulness practices into people’s everyday jobs, Dr. McKenzie explores how forging meaningful connections results in positive health benefits, increased job satisfaction, and improved performance.

According to the authors:

  • Leadership is highly valued in the workplace, but a precise definition can be difficult to identify. Mindful leadership is characterized by true engagement with others and the realization of collective goals rather than self-interest and power-centric objectives.
  • Individuals generally pick professions and stick to them for their entire working lives. This can often seem like a prison sentence, but by incorporating mindfulness principles into their professional activities, individuals can transform their outlooks and increase their personal satisfaction.
  • Professional relationships can be hard to manage; therefore, leaders must place relational perspectives around mindful principles to find common ground and work for a common good.
  • Creativity is a frequently used buzzword in the workplace, but it is often seen as elusive and difficult to capture within the parameters of a job description. Mindful professionals can heighten their creative output by simply letting go of whatever is stopping them.
  • Many job-related tasks can seem monotonous and frustrating, but by engaging with the tasks at hand and shedding previous notions of their characteristics, mindful professionals can find deep enjoyment in even the most mundane chores.
  • All industries can benefit from a healthy dose of mindfulness, but some professions in particular can see very specific results, including those in healthcare, law, education, sales, and the arts.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Creativity at WorkIn Creativity at Work, Ros Taylor shares the results of 100 interviews and a formal poll of 1,000 working people in the UK. Taylor sought to discover what happens every day as customers and markets change and how that relates to the role of creativity in a successful workplace. The results uncover myths about the type of people who are creative and help explain how creativity can be used in any work environment. Organizations that want to be viewed as innovative must make room for creative ideas because the two concepts go together. When a business understands the value of creativity at work, it must also recognize that everyone has the capacity to be creative.

Taylor provides the following tips concerning creativity in the workplace:

  • There are misconceptions about what it means to be creative at work. Many people falsely believe that creativity is something found only in certain professions and is not necessarily available to those in more traditional office roles. On the contrary, creativity can be used and is valuable in any work environment.
  • People can train their brains to learn new ways to make decisions, and there are different theories about how these processes work. The way one thinks and forms ideas can be changed with practical exercises that are applicable to the workplace.
  • A culture of creativity is something that can be fostered, even in companies that have not been creative in the past. Companies that view creativity as important can change their cultures as managers lead the way and employees follow.
  • Creativity is not something that only happens at certain times and to certain types of people. It is something people can learn how to use more frequently, and techniques can help make creativity part of one’s everyday process.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

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The Freaks Shall Inherit the EarthAccording to author, consultant, and entrepreneur Chris Brogan, there has never been such a promising time for “freaks” to succeed in business. These innovative, independent thinkers are perfectly positioned to take advantage of opportunities that others lack the vision or passion to pursue. At the same time, entrepreneurial success still depends on discipline, structure, and productivity. In The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, Brogan provides readers with specific guidance for how they can harness the power of out-of-the-box ideas, overcome their fears of failure, and build lives that they love.

According to Brogan:

  • Today’s business world is far more open than in the past to entrepreneurs who cannot or will not conform to corporate structures and expectations. However, even the most creative and hard-working nonconformists still need clear plans and to understand fundamental business skills.
  • A freak is someone who does not fit in with conventional businesspeople, dislikes settling or compromise, and seeks ways to make these characteristics an asset. Freaks can make a profit by finding and serving communities made up of like-minded people.
  • To succeed in business, freaks need to determine not only what makes them unique, but also how to sell to and build relationships with their customers. This involves building discipline, overcoming fear, and learning from experience.
  • Mastery of certain skills is critical to every business. These include basic legal contract skills, finance skills, marketing skills, and sales skills.
  • Some freaks can be successful as employeepreneurs, or people who work for companies but do their jobs like entrepreneurs. They take ownership of available resources and find better ways to get things done.
  • Freaks use media outlets to tell stories that people can relate to and choose to consume. This type of storytelling helps build communities that can then become markets for different products and services.
  • When things go wrong, making excuses or shifting blame never helps. The most effective way for people to deal with their problems is to define what went wrong, reassess their goals, and take action. If others have been hurt, they must give meaningful apologies.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

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The Innovator's PathIn today’s complex, global business landscape, continuous innovation is the key to establishing and maintaining competitive advantage, but it takes more than good ideas to create and win support for meaningful, ongoing change. Madge Meyer explains eight disciplines that are at the heart of effective innovation: Listen, Lead, Position, Promote, Connect, Commit, Execute, and Evolve. In The Innovator’s Path, Meyer provides practical strategies and proven techniques to unlock the power of these disciplines, delivering value to customers while creating a culture that welcomes experimentation and celebrates progress.

Meyer’s  eight-discipline framework for facilitating and fueling innovation consists of the following actions:

  1. Listen. There is a major difference between simply hearing customers, coworkers, and other stakeholders, and actually listening to them. Individuals and companies have an advantage when they pay careful, respectful attention to what others have to say.
  2. Lead. A leader need not be a top executive or manager. Leaders at any level can inspire others to top performance with their vision, passion, personal integrity, and high expectations.
  3. Position. Innovation requires a clear vision for the future and a roadmap for achieving it. Developing this future orientation and strategic direction positions the organization to take advantage of new opportunities.
  4. Promote. Innovation leaders can never assume that others know or understand the importance of their work. They must continually communicate their ideas and accomplishments in terms of business value, like augmented savings or revenue.
  5. Connect. Establishing, nurturing, and maintaining a relationship between individuals and among teams is a key responsibility for every innovation leader.
  6. Commit. Individuals, teams, and organizations commit to innovation when they actively encourage new ideas and demonstrate a willingness to take calculated risks.
  7. Execute. Innovation teams and organizations should formalize processes, like change management reviews, that maximize value delivery while minimizing risks.
  8. Evolve. In innovative cultures, individuals and teams are encouraged to continually reexamine solutions. They are challenged to do better — and rewarded accordingly. Ultimately, this approach instills the idea of “innovation-as-usual.”

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Architecture of InnovationInnovation EngineGetting Innovation Right

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Innovate the Pixar WayToday, many American companies are highly risk averse and are taking a short-term view of business. Greater focus on innovation is needed to make companies more competitive. In Innovate the Pixar Way, Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson discuss how leaders at animation giant Pixar have cultivated an innovative culture. They identify numerous ways that organizations can create their own “innovation playgrounds.” While researching the sources of Pixar’s innovative genius, the authors examined the company’s culture, leadership, teaming, and training. Organizations that are both innovative and profitable require a delicate balance between two very different characteristics: 1) childlike dreaming and 2) task-driven execution. Pixar has been successful at achieving this balance.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Innovation X, Grabbing Lightning, Imagination First

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