In-House Issues: Leverage Your Differences

.

.

The biggest irony embodied in the current in-house paradigm is this – We’re all busy trying to fit in and adapt at our places of work when actually the greatest potential for us to contribute to our organizations depends on us expressing and manifesting our differences from the status quo.

.

.

.

In a global economy where innovation will determine success, Byron Lewis Sr., CEO at the Uniworld Group, succinctly captures the argument for encouraging and exploiting this difference in a recent interview with the New York Times. “I’m not as interested in M.B.A.’s as I might have been…I’m primarily looking for people who have uncommon sense because that’s where genius comes from.”

There is a caveat here as he does note, ”I am looking for people who are different but different within the context of a business.” That is the balancing act – being creative but within a framework where the business is the driver. For now, though, our community has allowed itself to be brow-beaten to the point where very few of us are anywhere near being too innovative. The bigger danger right now is that we’ve been immobilized by the pressure from clients and management to conform to an analytical, left-brain way of doing our jobs.

Granted, finding executives who are as enlightened as Mr. Lewis is difficult but that is no excuse for not perfecting and making arguments in defense of the creative process and its critical contributions to our companies’ success. Not to push for acceptance of the creative process would be a disservice to our profession, our companies and us.

Lewis grasps the value we bring when he says, “When you really find a leader, that person has uncommon sense. I do not believe in formulas. I believe in integrity. Integrity is that you feel a loyalty not only to the company but also loyalty to an idea. I’m driven by ideas and I want people to be open and honest with what they believe…” It’s time we all be honest and assertive about our creativity and the unparalleled value it brings to our companies.

COMMENT