This article is part of The 45-Minute MBA series, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about business to become an effective leader of your organization (in less than 45 minutes of reading).
Let’s face it; competing is tiresome. It wears on you. It always results in a win-lose situation. But you have to compete to survive right? The marketplace depends on competition; competition provides consumers with choices. Without competition our economic system would be inefficient.
But as a leader, should you focus on competing?
As human beings, it’s our natural tendency to worry about what everyone else is doing. Case in point: how many times have you checked your Facebook page today?
At work, we worry about our competitors. What are they doing? What is their pricing? Have they launched any new products?
There’s a saying in golf: “Play the course, not your opponent.” While you certainly want to be aware of how your opponent is playing, it’s important to avoid the trap of being swept up by the emotion of the match.
The same holds true in business.
The key is to concentrate on your situation and your competitive advantage to achieve your desired results. When you focus internally, you come up with new and different ideas. You create.
Leaders focus on creating. Leaders create new products, services, production methods, and marketing strategies that change the way we do business. Leaders change the way we think. And along the way, they destroy the competition.
*Creative Destruction: The creation of new products and production methods that completely destroy the market positions of firms that are wedded to existing products and older ways of doing business.
Creating is fun, exhilarating, and provides you with a sense of accomplishment. Creative actions lead to breakthroughs that lead to windfalls of opportunity.
How do you create?
You might be thinking you don’t have a creative bone in your body. Maybe your work situation hasn’t afforded you the opportunity to think outside the box. Maybe you came up with a new idea and someone shot it down, along with your confidence. The good news is: that’s not true. We were all born to create. The better news is: if you create, awesome (I mean AWESOME!) things happen.
To help jump-start your creative mind, I came up with 5 action steps you can take right now to help unleash your creativity:
5 Action Steps to Unleash Your Creativity
1. Simplify. Reduce your objective to one sentence. For example: “I want to make more sales,” “I want to write a book,” or “I want to start a business.” When your objective is clear, it is easier to create ways to achieve it.
2. Write. Every time you write (or type) an original thought you are creating. Writing enables you to clarify your thoughts and express yourself. Oftentimes while writing, I find holes in my reasoning that cause me to more thoroughly research my topic. As I research my topic I discover new ways of thinking.
3. Focus. In order to create, you must eliminate the distractions around you and focus. Turn off your music, cell phone, and email alerts and focus on what you want to achieve.
4. Think. I recommend dedicating 30 minutes a day to think. Think about where you’re going and what you want to accomplish. Think about your craft. You will create your best ideas during this time.
5. Give yourself a deadline. There’s nothing like inducing a bit of fear in yourself to spark creativity. Every Friday, before I leave for work, I have to publish an article on my blog. Period. Friday is my deadline. Without this deadline, my work would linger on and go unfinished. This deadline forces me to find the time to create the content I deliver to you. The deadline induces creativity.
Remember that an idea without action is just an idea. Start with #1 and write down one goal you want to achieve and spend a few quiet minutes thinking about it. That’s an action step you can take right now to start down the path of creativity.
When you create, people will follow you (including your competitors). You will become the leader that everyone looks up to and will never be short of opportunity again.
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Thanks for reading and have an excellent week.