Thursday, March 31, 2011

ReTHINK Leadership

"The biggest deficiency in language certainly in English language is that we don't have a word to describe fully justified venture which for a certain reason beyond your control does not succeed and anything that doesn't work we call it a mistake.People don't like mistake as it stand on their way of getting promotion or pay rise" by Edward De Bono
We shared an excerpt of an article by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in a recent presentation that we did. "Why Creative people can lose out on leadership positions". Let me not be thought offensive as i just hit the panic button.

In a survey of 1,500 CEOs by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, creativity was viewed as the single most important attribute needed to lead a large corporation. So companies are aware that, at least hypothetically, they need leaders who are creative. But how do people react when faced with someone who actually expresses creative ideas?
 "It's easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date."  — Roger von Oec
Leadership Versus Creativity  

In the first study by IBM, 55 people were asked to rate 291 of their colleagues both on their leadership potential and on the extent to which they came up with new, creative ideas.
  • Employees who were seen as creative were viewed as having less leadership potential than those who were not thought to be creative.
In the second study, a group of  U.S. college students were asked to come up with ideas to generate more revenue for an airline. The second group of students was asked to rate the leadership potential, and the ideas, of each person in the first group.
  • Again, students whose ideas were considered more creative were seen as having less leadership potential than those whose ideas were not considered creative.
  • Both groups-the creative folks and the less creative ones-were seen as equally warm and competent. So it’s likely that the creatives’ lack of perceived leadership potential really did come from their creativity, rather than personal taste on the part of the ‘rating’ group.
  • Those who came up with creative ideas were viewed to have significantly less leadership potential than those who simply came up with a useful solution.
Not well, it turns out. Jennifer Mueller, a professor at Wharton, Jack A. Goncalo of Cornell, and Dishan Kamdar of the Indian School of Business conducted a series of experiments to find out how creative people were viewed by their colleagues. Individuals who expressed creative ideas were viewed as having less leadership potential than individuals whose ideas were less creative. “It is not easy to select creative leaders,” says Mueller. “It takes more time and effort… than we might previously have thought.”
But Why Creative people viewed as having less leadership
Muller notes that leaders must create common goals so their groups can get things done. And the clearer goals are, the better they tend to work, which means leaders need to root out uncertainty.So leaders need to diminish uncertainty and create standards of behavior for everyone in the group. And they create those standards by conforming to them.
One way leaders can do this is to set standards and enforce conformity. But when asked to describe a creative person, words like “quirky,” “nonconformist” and “unfocused” often take their place right alongside “visionary” and “charismatic.”
Understanding the need for creativity withing a large company is not the same as fostering it.Muller's work shows that those who think outside the box may be penalized by it. Mueller states " it almost impossible to get people say they don't want creativity. But when someone actually voices a creative idea, there is a response of, "wow--what is that?" This issue really comes to life at the moment the idea is voiced. There is discomfort when people encounter creativity."
According to Mueller, this study points to the conflicting feelings that people often have around truly creative thinkers. In the paper, she and her co-authors write that leaders who are the most original may be overlooked "in favor of selecting leaders who would preserve the status quo by sticking with feasible, but relatively unoriginal solutions".

They suggest that the reality created by this bias could explain why the IBM survey of leaders found that many expressed doubt or a lack of confidence in their ability to take charge in times of complexity. Those leaders were ostensibly promoted "based on this prototypical perception of leadership and now find themselves in a world that has vastly changed, one that requires much more creative responses and thinking."

"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." — Carl Ally