When you’re figuring out how to brand yourself for your dream career, you spend oodles of time discovering what you need to demonstrate in your brand to achieve your goals. But, what if I were to tell you that – no matter your field of how much pondering you’ve done – you’re probably forgetting to emphasize the single most important skill you need?
This is a skill that gets a lot of hype, but at the same time, usually gets pushed aside. It’s a skill that everyone has, and can develop more fully – although it’s also one often believed to be soley an innate skill. It’s also one of those soft skills that isn’t quantifiable. But most importantly, it’s the skill that over 1500 CEOS from over 33 industries worldwide believe is the ”most important leadership competency of the future”.
Do you have it? Depends – how creative do you consider yourself?
In a 2010 global survey by IBM, CEOs worldwide ranked creativity as a more essential skill than dedication, ability to manage, integrity or vision for the leaders of tomorrow. Be assured though, that when they talk about creativity, it’s not about the artsy, sparkly meaning that is often given to the word.
This is the creativity that deals with new markets, new competitors, rising levels of complexity and everything else that results from an increasingly-connected global world where change happens daily.
In order to be on top – or to get there in the first place – it’s no longer enough for companies to manage themselves effciently. No, in order to be successful today, companies of all sizes need to create. Investing in creativity gives a company more strength and security than any other thing it can do.
Companies know this, and they’re looking for people – either as employees or as consultants – who are creative and can help them thrive.
At this point, some of you will probably be protesting that you’re simply not creative – so your personal brand will be fine without espousing any creativity. (“Thank you very much.”) And you wouldn’t be alone in saying this. A recent study by the European Centre for Strategic Innovation that found that 67% of business leaders believe great innovators are born and not made.
However, it’s absolute hogwash to say you’re not creative. (And taking the easy way out.)
Renowned innovation researcher Clayton Christensen and the other authors of The Innovator’s DNA have found that people who believe they are creative become so. Other researchers have found in studies of identical twins that (unlike intelligence) only 30% of creative ability has a basis in genetics. And innovation gurus like Edward de Bono, Michael Michalko, Genrich Altshuller and many more have developed techniques that anyone can use to generate ideas.
Instead, as those researchers, innovation gurus and the CEOs in the IBM study have found, creativity is a skill that can be developed – and should. Every person has the ability to be creative: they just need to find the right technique that works with their style of thinking.
So, if you don’t already consider yourself creative and are not demonstrating your creativity already in your brand – or you are not actively learning how to become more creative, you’re leaving a giant hole in your personal brand. Are you willing to risk not having the “most important leadership competency of the future”?
Katie Konrath helps companies come up with "ideas so fresh... they should be slapped" at leading innovation company Ideas To Go. If you're interested in having her speak to your organization, she'd love to hear from you.
This post was originally published on the Personal Branding Blog.