IBM: Building Creative Leaders

Recently, I was part of one of the AUT Breakfast Club events with their guest speaker Suzi Shaw Lyons from IBM New Zealand whose talk was about their Global CEO survey. Lyons is IBM’s charismatic Strategy & Organisational Change consultant. She knows what she’s talking about at an international level, she’s engaging and was a great start to the day.

The IBM CEO study is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,500 CEOs worldwide. A prime and promising highlight of her talk was that creativity is one of the most important attributes that organizations need to utilize to stand out according to both CEOs and students alike. With a particular focus on standout performers, Lyons talked us through the substantial research to support any of IBM’s results that show how CEOs and students see business heading in the next five years.

IBM notes that businesses who differentiate and stand out in a complex world are ones that practice creative leadership. To quote from the survey, “Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks. They are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles, particularly to engage with a new generation of employees, partners and customers.” Essentially market leaders need to be comfortable with experimentation and upsetting current market situations through creative business innovation. Sounds risky, right? When it comes to business I always think about the risks but surely during a time of receding recession all these positive results could mean that making educated and innovative choices are the way to compete even more fiercely in the market place.

The AUT Breakfast Club

Also, according to the results it appears that CEOs are turning their attention towards growth, which seems fitting given that the recession is beginning to remedy. Part of growth of course is innovation so IBM closely investigated the business intelligence and changing business models of CEOs who selected creativity as one of three top leadership qualities. They found that data was not what CEOs needed. What they needed was much more accurate information analysis to reduce uncertainty and risk. This doesn’t mean that CEOs are rigid at all though. It seems more likely that organizations are trying to be much more flexible with their business model approaches and need to test and tweak their activities continually to remain relevant. Perhaps innovation and creativity is something positive to come out of the recession.

All these findings are very promising for current and upcoming creative leaders. I’d like to thank the AUT Breakfast Club for giving me an extra two hours to my day that I wouldn’t have had without them. And for you, the readers, if you’d like to read the extensive details of this interesting survey you can download it here.

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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