Creativity in a Crisis, Part II: Finding Clarity in the ChaosApril 10, 2020
If you are like me, the feelings of fear and uncertainty about where this COVID-19 pandemic will take us are being at least partly offset by a sense that now is the perfect time to think creatively, and disruptively, about the future and our part in it.
I know some people, unfortunately, have found themselves suddenly without work, while others have been forced out of their workplaces and are working from home. For me I have more time back in my day as my travel schedule has been halted. For some, this break from the daily distractions of office activity (the daily distractions of home duties notwithstanding) and the normal buzz of business will be the chance to find clarity in the chaos.
Motivation in isolation
Dare I say it but I’m feeling motivated by this chance to work on my creativity. I’m finessing my language, assessing and understanding my talents and working out my ability to value-add.
Great ideas – or disruptive (in a good way) thoughts – keep popping into my head. Each day, I seem to have moments of what I’d call inspired clarity on how I can pivot, or about new work that would suit my audience and also fit into my 10-year plan and values.
As a finance professional at heart, I probably lean towards left-brain attributes, such as setting clear goals and approaching things rationally and logically. But that doesn’t mean I lack creativity and the ability to think outside the square.
In fact, most good finance professionals and managers are also intuitive, adaptable and agile thinkers. We need to be, to identify and deal with the everyday risks and challenges that businesses face.
Add to these traits a healthy level of scepticism and we are well prepared for when things get tough.
We are good at crises
We are good at fighting for our businesses, thinking differently and learning from mistakes (both ours and others’).
But we must remember this is not just about ourselves. Part of the clarity I’ve found in this chaos is that we need to collaborate, not capitalise.
I feel disappointed at the number of social posts and commentaries I’ve seen that are merely critical rather than constructive. We know news thrives on negativity but surely we can take a more positive approach. Maybe our creativity should be channelled into working together to make us all stronger in the long run, not pushing others under in our scramble to stay afloat in the short term.
Let me give you a really positive and tangible example of what I mean: Just the other week I had a meeting with a business partner we have been working together for the past year. We had a contract in place with standard termination clauses etc. But, instead of enforcing those contractual terms, we had a conversation that centred on honesty, care and building long-lasting alliances and relationships. So, instead of enforcing termination under the contract, which would not have been in either party’s long-term interest, we have placed a ‘freeze’ on all the contractual aspects. On the other side of this pandemic, we will look how we can continue to work together again once we are both in a financial position to bounce back.
In other words, the clearest realisation we should all have now is this is the time to think about long-term gains, not short-term fixes. That is where we need to be most creative.