“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them, they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Welcome to the second challenge of our #testingtimes campaign. If you’re reading this, you might have successfully completed challenge one; if not, it’s not too late to sign up, just send us your physical address and we’ll pop a card in the post.
Today we’ll focus on taking a looking at things from a different angle. We think it’s a useful skill to have if you want to grow your career. Because to be a senior adviser you need to be better than a lawyer that only sees legal problems or a human resources expert that only sees people issues. What you want is to be is an enterprise-wide thinker, who solves business issues bringing in a wide range of perspectives. Alice, in the quote above, is sharing the frustration we sometimes hear from leaders, so don’t be a kitten to always purrs; sometimes you need to roar — or even bark or chirp from time to time.
A first step is to step back and learn to see things from other angles. Exercise your creative muscles. Artists do it, philosophers do it and now you can too. Creativity can be focused and learned, just like any other skill.
So here’s your second career workout:
- The warm up
Full disclosure, we borrowed this idea from London’s premier contemporary art gallery, the Tate Modern. They use it in their creativity for artists class. We asked you to pick and object, and then photograph it from an entire different angle.
Check out our Twitter feed for our own examples, in the meantime here’s what we did:
In this example a sculpture became a candle holder and it made me think of Frida Khalo and my travels through Mexico. And then, looking closer a cactus turns into barbed wire.
2. Exercise your core
The key learning comes through reflecting on the process:
- How did the search for a new angle made you feel? Energised? Stressed?
- Was it hard? Was it easy?
- Did it invite you to create something new?
- Could you find a new use for the object after seeing from a new angle?
Through this objects take a new life; ideas expand and even sparks of joy flow in the process.
Now let’s put it into action at work. Is there a piece of work on the ‘back boiler’ that you could re-purpose to address a current need? For example, we had an old competitor analysis that we never properly finished, and we’ll now use it to help us figure out how to take Archetypical from a face-to-face business into a virtual facilitation one! (Watch this space for more.)
Creativity is a journey and we thank you for joining us in this #testing times
If you really like the idea of flexing your creativity muscles, here a few things we really like:
- Learn: Creativity in the Role of the Leaderby by Teresa Amabile and Mukti Khaire
- Play: Pip Mothersill’s work on creativity and serendipity is a gem. She’s an MIT graduate, now working at the New School in New York and a member of our advisory board. Try looking at her Reframe Creative Prompt Tool or
- Step into the world of Picasso through the Royal Academy’s virtual exhibition tour
- Do: Set aside half an hour to buddy up with a colleague form a different department and try to offer a different perspective to one of their challenges and get one for your own.
As always we would love to hear from you in this #testingtimes.