Effective Printing Industry Leaders Place a Premium on Creative Problem Solving
In our study of highly effective CEOs, yet another common thread emerged. They place a high premium on creative, critical thinking.
This may seem basic, but consider this: when do we set aside time to think? In our chronically distracted world, we sometimes confuse reacting to conditions and circumstances with thinking. Taking time away from the business to think about the business may seem like a luxury few can afford in a hyper-competitive, under-resourced operating environment. But leaders in the best performing companies make it a habit to get themselves and their management team offsite at least once or twice a year (virtually if not physically) to think about and plan for the future.
Getting away from the noise and distraction of the workplace provides an ideal setting to consider and address concerns, opportunities, and unique organizational strengths. This higher level of focus often uncovers ideas and productive patterns of thought unattainable during the swirl of a typical business day. This is when real thinking takes place; where breakthrough ideas, opportunities, and possibilities emerge.
Many find that in this quiet time they are best able to untangle complex situations and develop creative approaches to solve even the thorniest problems. The ability to apply creative thinking and problem solving is invaluable. These are essential components in keeping a business growing and thriving especially in a fast-moving complex operating environment.
Innovation is a process and a mind-set established and cultivated in high-performing organizations. Here, breakthrough ideas are celebrated, but so are failures and mistakes when they are made in pursuit of the mission and set the stage for future learning.
Under any circumstances, creative problem solving is essential for enduring success. In these times of high anxiety and uncertainty, this ability is especially useful. Leaders who engage their teams in challenging, vigorous, open, and candid discussions about issues, opportunities, and obstacles stand a much better chance of making their way through even the toughest times. And this disciplined process will serve them well, long after the current crisis passes.
Creative thinking and problem solving is not a task to be delegated to a select few. It is a function that is most effective when it is organization-wide and deeply embedded in the company’s culture. The most effective leaders set a clear course for innovation by creating an operating environment that makes this an accepted and embraced way of organizational life. And as with any cultural shift, it begins with the leader.
If there is a benefit to be found in the current need to “shelter in place”, maybe it’s this: It provides time to dial down the distractions and think, clearly, critically, and creatively.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.