Jun
05

CEOs: “Creativity is the most important leadership quality”

It’s already been a few weeks since the news broke: According to a new IBM survey, CEOs have identified “creativity” as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future. We’re used to hearing “innovation” bandied about in the business world, but creativity — the juice that fuels the more results-oriented innovation — doesn’t get the corporate limelight nearly as much. Now it does.

“CEOs are telling us they have to be more creative,” says Saul Berman, Lead Partner, Strategy and Change, at IBM. “We’re not going back to the old normal.” Creativity was the highest ranked leadership quality at 60%, followed by integrity and global thinking (Thanks to Fast Company for this graphic, right).

The great challenge for CEOs is dealing with increasing complexity and change on all fronts, and because of that, according to the report, “Creativity is the most important leadership quality.” The best corporate executives “practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organizations.” The survey was based on interviews with more than 1500 CEOs worldwide, the largest one-on-one sample known.

So what are the characteristics of a creative leader? As the graphic below reveals, the creative leader is one who invites disruptive innovation and change, can tolerate ambiguity, challenge the status quo and invent new ways of doing things. For more on this study and to get your own copy of the report, click here.

Want more on creativity from Adam? See his Innovation On My Mind blog.

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