Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Perspective on Creativity

If you're like me, you think being creative is for hobbies and extra-curricular activities, while being proactive is for business. Really think about what it means to be creative at work.

Last night I was reading an e-book, Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron. In one part he was describing the act of being creative using similar language to that usually denoting what it means to be "pro-active."

I first ran into, or absorbed the concept of being proactive when I worked with the Stephen Covey Group in Caracas in the early 1990s. Stephen Covey's first habit of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is simply: Be Proactive. What he means is that we don't wait to live a life of reactions to events, but we design our lives and work to merge our vision with reality.

Being pro-active is really more of an attitude, or way of being, rather than an activity.

David Cameron explained the same wisdom in terms of an attitude of creativity, in contrast to reactivity.

I think this is a valuable insight to broaden our understanding of what it means to be creative. This is on my mind because I'm developing an e-course entitled, "Creative Communication @ Work." My use of the word "creative" really does mean being proactive, not being creative in the sense of sending purple emails or wearing black nail polish to work, although I have no problem with either of these options.

You will not be surprised to know that I like the word, "creativity" much more than "being proactive." The former is much more humane sounding and the latter sounds more like business jargon to my ears. If you tell me to be creative, I'm excited; if you tell me to be pro-active, I feel pressure to perform. Ahhh, the power of words.