Welcome to The New Leader Podcast. I’m your host, Ian Daley. Today we’re going to talk about Creativity in Leadership – why it’s important, and how leaders can be more creative.
Today’s guest is Ron Tite. Ron is a speaker, and the Founder and CEO of Church+State, a Toronto-based marketing agency. He’s also the author of Everyone’s an Artist (or At Least They Should Be), published by HarperCollins in 2016. Ron has been an award-winning writer and creative director for brands such as Air France, Evian, Johnson & Johnson and Intel, to name a few.
In this episode, we look at:
- Ron’s first experience as a manager,
- the definition of a true leader,
- his biggest win and biggest loss,
- the importance of creativity in leadership,
- his favorite streamlining tools and how they make work more efficient, and a lot more.
I hope you enjoy this one.
My real first management role was my very first job. Like most comedians and creative directors, I did a Phys. Ed. degree. My very first job was helping launch the National Executive MBA program at Queen’s University – the Queen’s School of Business.
There I was, a Phys. Ed. grad. I didn’t know how I got there, but being an administrator and a manager in a School of Business, launching a video conference Executive MBA program, was not something I spoke to my high school guidance counselor then.
I landed in this place because I was there as a summer student. The Director of it said, “You’re smart enough to really understand where we have to take this. You’re a good enough team player that you can build trust with people and rally people around a shared cause. You’re competitive because of your athletic background, but you’re not too competitive, like you’re not a jerk about it.”
When we talk about leadership, we talk about direct reports. But the reality is, with this outsourced world, with this gig economy, and with these fuzzy lines between roles, where people are inside your organization or outside your organization, they’re a contractor, or a freelancer – whatever. All that stuff goes away now.
True leaders are the ones who can rally a group of people around a shared purpose. Sometimes those people report to you and sometimes they don’t.
Why Creativity is Important As a Leader
The key aspect of creativity is when somebody stops and asks themselves,
“Hold on a second. What if there are no rules?”
The complete opposite of creativity is doing things the way you always do them, and that’s the way a lot of leaders operate. There’s a set of rules, and you follow the rules.
Here’s the 5-step plan to leading people.
This is what you do on a daily basis. You do an HR-mandated 360 review. This is how it goes; this is the document you use. These are the things you say.
And you do that, and it becomes efficient. You guarantee quality. You all follow the same steps every single time. It’s an assembly line of leadership.
And there are people who have built their careers with no absolute brilliance, but with an absolute commitment and discipline to following the rules. There are things you do, there are ways you dress, there are things that you say – and if you just follow those rules, you’ll do very well.
The problem is that pretty much in every aspect of leadership, pretty much in every single category on the planet, all those rules have been thrown out the window.
We are now in a situation where there are no rules. We’re seeing entire categories being completely disrupted simply because of outside disruptors who are solving the problems the establishment can’t, or won’t. And the reason they are solving these problems is because they’re not following the rules.
Links and Resources
Connect with Ron: LinkedIn
Everyone’s an Artist (or At Least They Should Be): How Creativity Gives You the Edge in Everything You Do by Ron Tite, Scott Kavanagh and Christopher Novais
The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television by George Carlin
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr