Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. – Saint Augustine
Excellence comes at the intersection of reverse polarities. – Hugh Ballou
This is a continuation of the post from May 13.
Here are some of the parameters for unleashing creativity through structure:
- Structure Enables Creativity: If you have ever listened to a jazz ensemble, you might not have realized that this most creative of musical performance genres is actually very structured. To a non-musician, it seems as if there is no structure and the performers just make things up. Well, not true. The chord structure, the meter, the tempo, the form, and the melody, are just a few of the things that are structured. Mastering these elements allows each performer to then improvise around this structure. This is a simultaneous right/left brain function – being creative within a structure. Getting off the chord progression, or playing too loud when it’s not your solo, are reasons for not being invited to the next performance with that ensemble. Knowing the structure allows each performer to then be creative…they don’t need to spend energy thinking about what’s already defined. This is the same principle in non-musical settings: the structure prompts and encourages active engagement.
- Consistency: Knowing the sequence and the milestones allows all the participants to coordinate efforts. The plan identifies what activities are concurrent and which are continuous. It also identifies what activities depend on the completion of other activities. This is necessary for consistency and synergy in the group’s performance.
- Quality: When the outcomes are specifically defined, the benchmark for quality is a measurable objective. Quality, like artistry, is attention to detail. If the plan is good and the team is engaged, then there’s an identifiable quality standard for all.
- Control: Having the plan written with clearly defined objectives, and successfully articulated and communicated to all team members, allows the team to develop the synergy of peer-to-peer accountability, similar to how an ensemble develops its synergy. The orchestra or choir develops what is defined as “ensemble” which is a higher standard of unity. It’s not something the conductor can force, however it’s something the conductor inspires and creates the space to happen. The same is true for leadership in general. Create the expectations…define the process and accountabilities…get out of the way…nurture and coach for success…affirm success…be the example…be faithful to the process you champion.
Structure is the container for freedom and creativity.
The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM