The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Improving your creative leadership can help you find the right business solutions

Marie Amiot, President and CEO of Factry, and Andréane Martel, Project Manager of the Strategic Forums, International Leaders and Special Projects for the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, both agree: it is by making creativity a bigger part of business strategies that companies will survive to the next decade. That is why the School of creativity sciences, founded a little over a year ago under the name Factry, has launched its “Creative Leadership” program. Here is an overview of this course tailored specifically for managers who want to make their organizations sustainable.

Creativity: a key competence for leaders of today and tomorrow

When you ask Marie Amiot if creativity is a key competence for leaders, she answers yes without any hesitation. Why? Because in her view, globalization and innovative technologies are one of the reasons why society is undergoing change at a frenetic pace never before seen. To keep up, companies always need to reinvent themselves and creativity is the key. For Factry’s CEO, transversal creativity, in every level and team of an organization, is essential for innovating. In fact, it must be part of the company culture. Organizations need managers who are creative and able to generate innovative ideas, who can mobilize a range of collaborators around one common goal.

“Transversal creativity, in every level and team of an organization, is essential for innovating. In fact, it must be part of the company culture.”

How can you develop this skill?

By working on yourself. “The creative leadership program focuses on the individual,” said Andréane Martel, who was part of the second group to complete the program. “The three modules of the course addressed interpersonal relationships. First, we took a look at the ‘me’, more specifically, the qualities that make a good leader. Secondly, we focused on the team, how to mobilize troops and pick the right ideas. Finally, we impelled this transformation by applying what we previously discussed,” said Marie Amiot.

Because creativity requires a different way of doing things, it is a vector of change. The manager needs to know him or herself well enough to develop self-esteem and sell ideas. The starting point for the leader has to be to take a step back. This is undertaken with a transdisciplinary approach because each group brings together companies from a range of industries, including the corporate world, creative industries, the public sector, the business community… According to Marie Amiot, this diversity is essential because it allows participants to challenge themselves and evolve in their thinking.

Concrete examples

We asked Andréane Martel to provide two concrete examples of what she took away from her training.

Bloc I – Workshop on listening. An exercise that may seem simple at first: listen to a person speak for three minutes without interrupting them, then observe a moment of silence for 60 seconds. “That’s where I realized that as managers, we always think we’re running out of time and we want to fix things quickly. When an employee comes to us with a problem, we might be too quick to come up with a solution. However, when you take three minutes to listen to them and let them speak their mind, you’ll notice that they’ll often come up with a solution on their own.”

Bloc II – Workshop on techniques to validate good ideas. Innovation is not the prerogative of managers, it can come from any level in the organization. That’s why leaders must inspire their employees and help them build their self-esteem so they can propose ideas. Together, they’ll be able to assess if their ideas are good and which ones to implement. “Ask your collaborator to rate how the idea meets the organization’s needs on a scale of 1 to 10. If the answer is 8, they should then talk about the positive aspects of their recommendation and what needs to be done to bring it to a 10.” This technique will lead to a brainstorming session to reach this 10.

The lesson to keep in mind

Factry’s goal with this training activity is to forge creative minds capable of finding new business solutions. How can you maintain this innovative spirit in your everyday life? “By changing one thing for each project, for instance,” said Andréane Martel. She believes that when managing a project, you can’t be afraid to think differently and test things out. The notion of taking a risk is inherent to this kind of mandate, as long as the mentality of focusing on integration does not turn into stubbornness.

Find out more about Factry

The Creative Leadership program is a six-day course divided into three modules. It is transdisciplinary and brings together individuals from a range of businesses and can adapt to the problems they face in the field. The course is given by internationally-renowned experts.

Factry also offers other courses, including one on data culture (previously given), on trade and new business models (to come), and on communications and storytelling (to come).

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