Do you look for ideas and innovation from your employees? Does your work require creativity? When you think about these questions, if you look to continue to grow your small business, the answer almost always turns out to be yes. Management is a critical aspect of ensuring growth and continued success. Ed Catmull’s book CREATIVITY, INC is worth your time. Not something I say about many business books.
While this book is about building Pixar and focuses on artistic creativity, his management insights apply to most organizations. The theme of trust runs strongly through the book but always with real business insights and ideas. For example, on the issue of micro-managing:
- “One of the biggest barriers is fear, and while failure comes with the territory, fear doesn’t have to. The goal, then, is to uncouple fear and failure – to create an environment in which making mistakes doesn’t strike terror into your employees’ hearts.”
The issues of managing the organization and inevitable failures are another frequent theme. For example, on leading an enterprise:
- “When I say that the fate of any group enterprise, and the individuals with it, are interconnected and interdependent it may sound trite. But it’s not. What’s more, seeing all the interdependencies that shape our lives is impossible, no matter how hard aor long we look. … Acknowledging what your can’t see – getting comfortable with the fact that there are a large number of two-inch events occurring right now, out of our sight, that will affect us for better or worse, in myriad ways – helps promote flexibility. You might say I’m an advocate for humility in leaders. But to be truly humble, those leaders must first understand how many of the factors that shape their lives and businesses are – and always will be – our of sight.”
On working well with others:
- “This sounds simple enough – honor the viewpoint of other! – but it can be enormously difficult to put into practice throughout your company. That’s because when humans see things that challenge our mental models, we tend not just to resist them but to ignore them. This has been scientifically proven. The concept of ‘confirmation bias’ – the tendency of people to favor information, true or not, that confirms their pre-existing beliefs – was introduced in the 1960s….”
The book is an interesting, entertaining read but has a lot of ‘meat’ in its ideas and stories that can help your small organization and your own growth. While it can be read quickly, I think you will find it very valuable to read slowly and think regularly along the way about what it tells you about your own organization and yourself.