Weekender: Dana Carvey on Prolific Creativity

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a girlie man of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a girlie man? Because it’s the weekend…and we need to pump [clap] you up!

Leadership involves a healthy dose of creativity. We create strategies with creativity, solve employee issues with creativity, and make decisions with creativity. So what happens when our managerial responsibilities are sidetracked with a lull in innovation? Comedian Dana Carvey has seen this happen way too often.

In an interview on the podcast You Made it Weird, Carvey discussed the self-induced pressures young comedians put on themselves.

They’ve got Louis C.K. and all these superstars on YouTube and they’re three months in. ‘Well, its gotta be meta and its gotta be coming from me.’ Do everything, I always tell them. Originality is the death of creativity, especially in the early days. The mindf–k of ‘I can’t do that, I can’t do that, that’s been done, that’s been done.’… Don’t think someone else must of thought of this so I can’t do it.

Creating solutions that work demands a spice of creativity, but don’t confuse “creative” with “new” or “original.” Benchmarking, examining points of reference, and utilizing others’ past experiences are all necessary managerial tools that do not lessen or damage your reputation as an innovative leader. If anything, they improve your reputation because you’re learning from the past experiences of others, thereby helping you and your team capitalize on someone else’s wins and avoid their mistakes.

Before you feel the need to recreate the wheel, consider that there’s nothing wrong with standardization, so long as it allows for the ability to modify based upon current needs. When you find that a solution works, lock it down. Capture the process so you don’t have to start from scratch whenever its needed. It may not feel original, but it will be once you make it your own.

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