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Organisations in 2020 must be creative by habit

11 Jan 2018

Negativity is toxic and a culture killer according to LBS faculty

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No company can thrive with negativity sapping its culture, claims Richard Hytner, Adjunct Professor of Marketing at London Business School. “If culture eats strategy for breakfast, negativity kills culture for sport,” he said.

Hytner believes that highly successful people cherish creativity, push themselves to think differently and foster collaborative environments in which they can create together. 

Creativity is a key future skill. The World Economic Forum’s most recent skills report, ‘The Future of Jobs’, identified the abilities a 2020 workforce will need. Creativity shifted from the tenth most important skill in 2015 to third place in 2020. 

“A habit for creativity has significant benefits for effective leaders,” said Hytner. “Creativity is good for personal and collective wellbeing, and our most effective ally when we encounter new contexts and problems we have not seen before (or have seen all too often).”

Discover five practical tips to develop a habit of thinking creatively 

In January 2017, a McKinsey & Company study found that around 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be automated. As people rely more on machines to make strategic decisions based on big data, leaders must increasingly harness a habit that machines can’t replicate.

If creativity is a habit worth developing, what are the deadly behaviours to watch out for? Hytner said: “Some habits in business are harmful. Chief executives can get high on the stale air of sycophancy. CFOs may not always know when to end the organisation's drastic, cost-reducing diet, failing to see that the corporate body needs no further slimming. 

“These are all nasty habits. However, no habit in my view is more lethal than acceptance of negativity.”

Negativity is toxic and a culture killer, he noted. “Examples range from the blunt – ‘We simply don’t have time for this’ – to the bizarre – ‘I know this idea is untested, but why can’t you guarantee it will make money before we test it?’

“Creativity is not the exclusive preserve of the ‘crazies’ who inhabit marketing or innovation departments.” It’s a habit that will shape the future of work. 

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