BEing Blog 18 – BE Prepared for Action – Episode 1
Serious situations call for serious action. We can’t afford to leave anything to chance. When an emergency demands our full attention and focus the biological impact this has on us is huge! To survive and even thrive under these pressure cooker situations requires a high level of self-awareness and a few well practised systems (habits) to get us through. If we use these systems every day, when things are chugging along at the usual pace of hectic, then when we need to up the ante, the skills are there and can be implemented without disrupting the flow of the situation at hand.
Over my next few blogs I am going to chat about my four cornerstone, ‘Be Prepared for Action’ strategies.
Creativity is at the top of the list:
Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Creativity is the development of new (innovative thinking) and useful (producing a desired outcome) ideas.
Research is very clear that using creativity improves job satisfaction, drives innovation, drives problem solving, supports high performance and improves productivity and outcomes.1 Unfortunately, creativity is frequently seen as the anthesis to logic and academia, despite the research being clear about the organisational benefits of creativity, organisational cultures and leadership styles have been slow to embrace creative thinking for peak performance.
There are many ways to enhance creativity, but first you need to make time for it and secondly it needs to become part of the culture. As anyone who has worked with me will tell you, I have a colour pens, A1 paper, sticky notes culture that I implement with organisations and individuals – drawing, brain dumps, collage, glue, exploring, creative risk taking, innovating, and problem solving in the old-fashioned non-digital way.
Research tells us that the use of colour increases memory recall and has a positive effect on mood.1,2 Like colour, handwriting also improves memory and learning. A 2017 study concluded that drawing by hand activates larger networks in the brain than typing on a keyboard.3 And, if we want to optimise learning we should combine traditional handwritten notes with visualizations (e.g., small drawings, shapes, arrows, and symbols.)
Practising creativity, regularly activating the parts of your brain responsible for innovation, strengthens these neural pathways, making them more readily available when the s**t hits the proverbial fan. When faced with a crisis or problem, putting your thoughts down in writing and working through a process to tease out often surprising solutions is super effective, and helps to keep you in a calm and thinking state of mind.
Don’t wait until crisis strikes, practice your creative license every day for high performance outcomes, it will serve you well.
- Jing Zhou and Inga J. Hoever. Research on Workplace Creativity: A Review and Redirection. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior Vol. 1:333-359.
- Mariam Adawiah Dzulkifli and Muhammad Faiz Mustafar. The Influence of Colour on Memory Performance: A Review Malays J Med Sci. 2013 Mar; 20(2): 3–9.
- Audrey L. H. van der Meer and F. R. (Ruud) van der Weel Only Three Fingers Write, but the Whole Brain Works: A High-Density EEG Study Showing Advantages of Drawing Over Typing for Learning Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 706.