Here’s What Creatives Do To Thrive in Business

office-620817_640Traditional business models that leverage linear thinking are less effective today than ever before. In part the demand for more creative minds is due to a rise in complexity, the need to innovate solutions by connecting disparate ideas and the requirement to adapt to rapidly changing environments. These are opportunities for the creative business owner to thrive.

Fast Company created a list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2015. Whereas, most lists of creative geniuses focus personalities at popular ad agencies or well-known designers, Fast Company took the novel approach of looking at those business leaders who have broken out of the norms and succeeded at being creative leaders in non-traditional areas. They either challenged their industry’s norms or they created entirely new segments or industries. The breadth of businesses on the list brings to mind the words of Dr. Allan Reiss of Stanford University.

“Creativity is an incredibly valued human attribute in every single human endeavor, be it work or play. In art, science and business, creativity is the engine that drives progress…People who can think creatively and flexibly frequently have the best outcomes.”

An interesting challenge arises when creatives are forced into the traditional model of linear thinking in the business (See our post: Why You Struggle as a Creative Running a Business).  Reiss found in his research that forcing people to think creatively or putting pressure on them with tight timelines and mandating intentional focus actually hampers creativity.

Studies continually show that a combination of boredom and mental stimulation is required to generate the conditions of daydreaming that benefit creativity. When one focuses too intently on being creative, he narrows the already limited bandwidth of his conscious awareness and therefore, the new, subtle connections the subconscious mind is actively making never reach the surface of the conscious mind. The new ideas may have been formed, but the thinker has no idea.

entrepreneur-593358_640Interestingly, the creative business leaders who thrive find ways to balance their activities to relax their executive functions—the basic cognitive processes that control thought and action—thus, allowing creativity while knowing when to bring the executive attention network back online so they can critically evaluate and the creative ideas to determine which one are most valuable and should be implemented.

Here are five ways you can find balance between your creative and executive minds as a business owner:

  1. Schedule time for creative work. While this may seem counter intuitive, if you schedule enough time to relax and be creative every day, you can actually learn to move into the state of mind that allows creativity to flow more easily. Sometimes it is best to do this immediately when you awake in the morning or just before going to sleep at night.
  1. Meditate regularly. Executives are learning more about the power of meditation to increase their ability to connect disparate information. This is in part due to the relaxation of the executive functions. The quieted mind allows ideas to surface that are created or connected only a subconscious level.
  1. Build a trusted team. You’ll want to delegate much of the implementation of your ideas so you can focus on leveraging more of your time to be creative. Building a capable and trusted team will help you be more successful in turning your ideas into products and services that add real value to your company.
  1. Use a proven process. In our book, “LEVERAGE: Achieve a Lot with the Little You’ve Got”. We help you go through a proven and repeatable process of listing your ideas, intellectual property and many other assets. Then, we guide you through the ten step planning process by alternating between creative and linear thinking to build an inspired plan with rewarding milestones and powerful action steps.
  1. Expand your expertise. Study the ideas of thought leaders in fields beyond the reaches of your core genius. Intentionally building expertise in new areas of knowledge can allow for the triggering of analogies or metaphors that cause you to see new opportunities and connections that your competitors have missed.


Tony Bodoh is the CEO of LeaderBridge. He is also a Fortune 150 consultant, the founder of Tony Bodoh International and the best-selling author of “The Complete Experience: Unlocking the Secrets of Online Reviews That Drive Customer Loyalty“.  Tony is also a popular speaker at business and customer experience conferences.  Vinny Ribas is the President of LeaderBridge. He is the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, the CEO of Indie Connect, a consultant to 1000+ small businesses and the author of “CEO Secrets: What They Know About Business That Every Entrepreneur Should“. Vinny is also a popular speaker at business and music industry conferences. Together they wrote the #1 Best-Selling book, ‘LEVERAGE:  Achieve a Lot with the Little You’ve Got‘ (with Connie Ribas) and teach an in-depth 4-week course based on it.