Thursday, July 10, 2014

Small and Cluttered Part Two (On Creative Leadership)

At this point my top two (I mean 3.5) reasons for the "small and cluttered" aspect of my life are:
1. A chronic lack of taking seriously the need for resource gathering and realistic projections about accomplishing projects (and more importantly) grander visions. (I'm working on this.)
2. A need to cast vision and recruit help more consistently -- and (this probably deserves a separate entry, but I started with the top two and it's already grown to top three, so this is 2b) and then delegate well, with the kind of check ins that provides support but gives the person room to feel the weight of responsibility and make mistakes. (Steep learning curve here.)
3. Settling for small and acceptable outcomes rather than stretch goals. (This one I am regularly blind to.)

It's easy to err (and I have) on two opposite sides here -- the tendency to bite off more than you can chew on the one hand, and the tendency to settle for small, safe and manageable on the other. In any business, community or individual's life there are times to set achievable goals. . .  and achieve them. Steadily and responsibly. But it is also true that other situations call for innovation, creativity or nonlinear advance. . . which requires another way of thinking and planning.

From time to time I hit this sweet spot where the vision we cast is compelling enough that people feel privileged to jump on board -- and good planning pushes that team to the edge of what they can handle. . .  and just a little bit beyond.

Something powerful and catalytic happens when a team goes to that place near the edge where great ideas happen and you (sometimes) come up with that marvelous thing that not only surpasses peoples' expectations but changes what they expect moving forward. That is a target worth shooting for.