Harvey Mackay

The Creativity ABCs

Creativity fuels innovation, and innovation is essential to business. So I’m sharing my thoughts on creativity, yet I’m using one of my favorite formulas: a simple list of ABCs.

While the ABC approach itself may not be entirely creative, I think the message will bear me out. I have covered nine of the topics that I believe are the most important concepts in business over the years: customer service, leadership, networking, negotiations, sales, dreams, entrepreneurship, public speaking and team building.

Now it’s time to dissect creativity. Truly successful people understand the fundamental value of setting yourself apart from the competition or finding a creative way to stand out from the crowd.

A is for advertising. Expand your brand beyond media-generated advertising. For example, we painted our company name and phone numbers on top of our delivery trucks so they were visible to people who worked on upper floors of tall buildings.

B is for bold. People are not inspired by ordinary messages, so give them a reason to remember you.

C is for curious. Curiosity may not have been good for the cat, but it’s a winning formula for people.

D is for different. Don’t be afraid to do things that have never been tried before. You have to have enough faith in yourself to trust your instincts.

E is everyone. I firmly believe that everyone has the capacity to be creative, if only they allow themselves to be.

F is for funny. Most products or services can benefit from a creative and humorous approach. When you make people laugh or make them feel good, they are more likely to remember.

G is for genuine. Creativity does not include stretching the truth.

H is for head. Use yours to go to the head of the creativity class.

I is for ideas, which are like rabbits. If you can get a couple, pretty soon you have a dozen.

J is for January, which is International Creativity Month -- a time to remind individuals and organizations around the globe to capitalize on the power of creativity. Creativity is important all year long.

K is for kids. Kids are unafraid to take gigantic risks. They haven’t been trained yet to take the safe approach. Creativity comes naturally to kids.

L is for listen. We learn more by listening than talking. That’s why we have two ears and only one mouth.

M is for mistakes. Give yourself permission to try things even if you’re not sure they’ll succeed. Often, you’ll stumble across a different strategy or a better path along the way.

N is for nature. New evidence suggests you can boost your imagination and creativity by getting outside and spending some time in nature. Take a walk and clear out the cobwebs.

O is for open mind. Like parachutes, minds work best when they are open. Let ideas develop before you dismiss them.

P is for patience. You can’t hurry creativity, so take time to ponder your ideas. Sit back and think things over. Let the seeds of ideas bloom into full flower.

Q is for quest. When you are on a quest for new business or promoting a new product or service, you need to employ every creative strategy that you can muster.

R is for relax. Most people are at their creative best when they are relaxed and not under pressure.

S is for simple. No, this is not a contradiction. Creativity need not be complicated to be effective. Sometimes a simple approach is the most creative.

T is for thinking outside the box. Look for a fresh perspective or unconventional method instead of the same tired approach.

U is for understanding your limitations and then finding a creative way to blast beyond them.

V is for variety. Variety truly is the spice of life. Changes and new experiences make life more interesting.

W is for wonder. Creativity embraces the wonder of novelty and ingenuity, and turns them into wonderful results.

X is for exceed expectations. (That is my creative spelling.) Find creative ways to achieve awesome outcomes.

Y is for yesterday. If you did it yesterday, it’s not creative today. Look toward tomorrow instead.

Z is for zeitgeist. Catch the spirit of creativity!

Mackay’s Moral: Start every day with a healthy dose of vitamin C -- Creativity!