Lyn Heward issued this challenge to credit unions: Be more creative.
The director of creation for the Montreal Cirque du Soleil and author of “The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within Us All” says everyone has a wellspring of creativity.
“We just need to tap into and exercise it,” she told attendees Tuesday.
Heward says credit union leaders can tap into their organizations’ creativity by opening these “creative doors”:
► Develop intuitive instincts by finely honing your senses. Move beyond mechanics and analytics and into the moment, she advised. Capture new ideas and experiences as they occur.
► Partake in “treasure hunting” and “creative transference”—a.k.a. training.
Cirque is a treasure hunter, Heward said, “seeking out the most precious of pearls” to work for the organization. The company has created a database of potential employees and holds rigorous tryouts that push people to their limits.
“The qualities we seek are courage, the willingness to take risks and to manage their own growth, generosity, and the ability to learn quickly,” Heward said. “We peel back the skin to get to the sweet core.”
► Provide a nurturing environment and collaborate. This promotes personal growth and fosters trust. Cirque subscribes to the idea of “collective creativity,” whereby everyone is responsible for contributing to the creative process and being generous.
“We instill humility,” Heward said. “It’s not my show, it’s our show. Sometimes you have only half of the pieces to the creative puzzle, rarely the whole puzzle. That’s why collaborative creativity is so important.”
► Embrace budgetary and other constraints—they force you to be more creative.
► Take risks. “Forge ahead, make mistakes, and learn from them,” Heward advised. “At Cirque we call this ‘research and development.’ Complacency is the biggest risk you face.”
► Keep it fresh. “Once the baby is born,” Heward said, “how can we help it grow?”
The best way to do so is to lead by example. “A hard-working boss is top motivator for employees. We need shared creative ownership.”