LEADERSHIP THROUGH CREATIVITY & SYNERGY : Apr 14, 2008 02:32 PM
Author: Bakhtiar Hakeem
LEADERSHIP THROUGH CREATIVITY & SYNERGY 2+2=5
t was some where in 1992-93 when as editor of a professional magazine, I
used the expression of 2+2=5 for an article on synergy. A decade and a
half ahead I develop this article for exploring creativity and synergy
to lead onto leadership. Do you remember the old Urdu adage one and one
makes eleven. Covey found it easy to say,”Whole is greater than the sum
of its parts”.
Who are you, a student, a faculty member, a soldier, a lawyer or a
policeperson? I do not mind if you are a business executive, a
housewife, and a chef in PC or a medical superintendent in a hospital. I
am very comfortable in addressing you all. If you are already a leader
you will find many of your life long principles and practices being
eulogized here. You will find vindication of your convictions. And you
may find a tip or two to polish further. You may find a fresh suggestion
to yet knock at a new window, or turning one heap of bricks around you
into a pavement or a flight of stairs. If you are on a path to grow
then; a greater pleasure for both of us. You are on your way to
neutralize and defeat your fears; you are on your way to discover and on
your way to look for new possibilities. You will find new combinations,
new ways to assert and be effective objectively. Through this article I
stand with you shoulder to shoulder in your brave pursuit. Sometimes you
will find me behind you, pushing you forward on your road to leadership.
Sometimes you will find me beneath your feet providing a strong platform
to stand upon, providing stronger and wider canvas to explore and reach
out farther, deeper and higher. And if you are a student in early
twenties to early thirties still nagged by huge expectations of father
and mother, ever pinching demands of various subject teachers; I welcome
you whole heartedly. You need this article to reduce your apprehensions.
It will show you the way to be independent and set course for you to be
interdependent in due course of time. It will point finger towards your
petty prejudices which you might be in love with, as your personal
preferences. I may help you wear a smiling face, stand upon confident
legs and speak with a brave tongue to say, sorry, let us do it this way
or sure here is a way out ; or ‘I have another option’.
am sure you will be benefited by having greater number of friends in
next three months. You will be able to join isolated dots and islands of
your life to make greater sense and achieving higher and better results.
You will find connections amongst your diversified subjects like
sociology and Pakistan studies, like linear algebra and critical
thinking. You will enjoy both body building and organizing college
debates. You will be able to listen to a road-side beggar and an admin
officer with greater interest. You will find commonality in their psyche
and diversification in approach. You might lessen your disgust and hate
for your mother-in-law. Soon you may find the way how much she actually
needed you or how much pun she can create by her winding stories. Soon
you may find the added value in the role you were already playing as
class-representative or as a chief cashier. And who will need it more
than a CEO; if you are one right now. The enhanced ability to relatively
discover more than others and the enhanced ability to find relations and
connections to get closer to pre-determined goals will help make you a
leader. And a better leader, a leader others would envy.
y dear friend let me show you why you are the finest of His products and
how easily you can discover to lead your way to new heights.
Stage is set now to have a precise and deeper peep into creativity then
synergy and into the resulting leadership at the end.
reativity. Some simply describe creativity as ‘capacity to discover’.
Yes it is so, but a little more than that. However, let me first present
an assorted collection of views and comments on creativity:
a. To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
– Joseph Chilton Pearce
b. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist
once grown up. – Pablo Picasso
c. Creativity comes by breaking the rules, by saying you’re in love
with the anarchist.
– Anita Roddick
d. Creativity can be described as the letting go of certainty.
– Gail Sheehy
e. The life of a creative person is lead, directed and controlled
by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.
– Saul Stoppard
f. True creativity often starts where language ends
– Arthur Koestler
g. Creativity is not far from freedom. To be creative is to know
who we are ...
– Garth Aldrich
How do you conclude, reading through all these explanations of various
scholars? Ponder over these.
Now heads down on two sub-topics of creativity. One, how to improve or
boost creativity and second what blocks creativity. Then I will move
over to synergy.
How to Boost Creativity? None, including me will be able to give you a
hundred percent solution for your individual needs. Yes, my
recommendations could be as potent or as useful as eighty or ninety
percent. From where to find the rest? You will fill up the gap. Sure,
you will do it, after you have finished will this article; have inferred
your conclusions and start application of your understanding. Here are
some valuable recommendations to ponder and follow.
a. Do not be Your Own God. Sorry to say, you do not know
yourself. You are His product. He is flawless, boundless, the Creator,
Doer and the Giver. “So God Created man in his (own) image, in the image
of…. (Bible 1:27). Please do not under estimate yourself. This is what
you do, whenever you do self evaluation. You can do much more than what
you think you can do. Let Him know the destination. Let Him unfold
results for you. Your job is to explore, make right selection and then
to step out on the chosen path. And to struggle with full faith in Him.
So set out and step out with Allah’s immeasurable mercy for you. Keep
exploring your potentials and possibilities around you. These are
b. Keep a Paper and a Pencil. Always carry some writing
material on you. It could be diary or a journal which could serve you,
as a record; say for a year or so. Make use of it for anything but give
priority to following. Write down what you wish to do, your desires,
your goals and objectives. And for defining your problems.
c. Define Your Problems. Correct definition and a right statement
of problem is the start point to solve the problem effectively. Many
problems simply need a respectful treatment. Find solitude and a safe
corner. Open your diary and try to give words to your problems. Make an
effort to prioritize; your problems as a first step. If more than one,
as these would be almost as a rule; segregate the problems under the
subheads of urgent and important ones. Try to define the problems in
measurable terms. And it is equally important to lay down goals and
objectives in operational terms.
d. Put the Brain to Task. Do not let the brains be idle.
Things not used become useless. Doing routine chores, do not put the
required stress on the brain. Do a little bit of brain-storming now and
then. How? Do one simple exercise today. Write down maximum possible
uses of water. Listing fifty different uses in eight to ten minutes
would be a good start.
e. Read. Read as much and as varied as you can. Learn to scan and
differentiate it from deep reading. Learn speed reading. Undertake
comprehension tests as well. Making brief notes at the end of a chapter
or a book in your diary would go a long way to enrich and empower you.
f. Listen to Original Music. Both enjoy and ponder on the
creativity of composer. How come there are innumerable tunes. What makes
some tunes ever green. How wonderful would it be if you can compose a
g. Reduce TV Time. Be watchful of number of hours you spend in
front of the TV. Reduce it. Be selective about the channels and minimize
indulgence in channel browsing.
h. Drugs. No drug please. There is no pill on God’s earth which
can help promote creativity or synergy.
What Blocks Creativity. There have to be a double pincer approach to
tie up all loose ends. While you are doing everything to boost the
creativity, it would be equally important to know what blocks
creativity. It will help you to avoid blocks and not only that, you will
learn not to create blocks for others.
a. Lack of Recognition. Recognition, appreciation, a pat or a nod,
all help a great deal to reinforce the desired behaviors. Recognition is
in fact a force multiplier, with both positive and negative algebraic
b. Mania for Efficiency and Control. Developing strait jackets for
you, your organisation and others will dry up creativity. Providing
standing operating procedures and laying down strict channels of
communication and functioning impede creativity. It stifles creativity.
All such structures which are aimed at zero error help destroy
creativity. Use the rules; do not be used by the rules. Do not be the
slave of rules. Keep the focus on goals and objectives. See over the
fence of dos & do nots. Make a road where there is none. Tracks already
used are easiest to trace and tread. Those who want to offer you
stepping stones or beaten tracks are not the friends of creativity. Use
others experience as one input. Principles, generalizations, adage and
idioms are good. Remember they are never the complete solutions.
Generate your own solutions, when you are dealing with the new issues
and a new problem.
c. Roles & Functions. There are such roles in life where people
are bound to lose creativity. Some times roles are forced upon but
sometimes people find an escape route in defensive roles. Some roles and
functions contained there in are too mechanical for a good vibrant human
being to live in and grow. Avoid such roles; if forced upon; try to
wriggle out as early as possible lest you become inert mentally. Shake
out and follow the dictates of a creative mind.
d. The Right Socialization. A lot can be said and read on
socialization and anti-socialization with reference to creativity and
initiation of ideas. I will recommend a right kind of socialization. It
implies spending time and energies which are focused on exploring and
not on repetition. Look at these two simple social practices. A person
moves out every Sunday with same friends to eat same food (Harrisa) from
same shop, sitting on same table next to same window. A person plans to
eat different food, prepared by himself or different friends or a
different cook at a new place on every outing. Some people enjoy playing
luddo whole their life in their spare time. Others may end up knowing
thirty different games by the time they are seventy. Initiation or lack
of initiation of ideas has to do a lot with the socialization.
e. Status Level and New Ideas. If you are a young man, I am sure
you will be least plagued by the ills of status level. Why should social
standing, pay scale or the size of car under use should impede your
creativity and leadership. If you have all these material signs protect
them through creative synergy to lead your way and grow farther. And if
you do not have such stilts and artifacts, you can buy, create,
manipulate and arrange by learning creativity and synergy.
hat is synergy? Syn–ergo (Gr) all it means working together. And putting
things together so as to create a total effect which fulfills the
desired results. Though St. Paul used it to indicate man’s, god and
cosmic cooperation, I will unfold it to make five out of two plus two
the least and eleven out of simply two ones, if our synergy can strike
well. A brief explanation of the term first: -
a. A mutually advantageous conjunction where the whole is greater
than the (mathematical) sum of its parts.
b. A dynamic state where in combined action is favored over the sum
of the actions of its components.
c. What comes out of the system (team or a group) rather than the
potentials of its members?
No more theories let us observe, learn, assimilate, understand and start
a. Look at a set of two beggars one is blind and walk behind the
one who is deaf and dumb but has good eyes. Deaf and dumb, lead and
shows the way to client while blind sings the appeal in most melodious
rhyme. Both earn for more than each could do separately.
b. A hotel owner meets a garage owner. The hotel was mid-way at
Sibi between Quetta and Sukkur. Soon the business bloomed for they had
set up a Motel. None out of two could have earned separately as a hotel
owner and as a garage owner.
c. Sheikh Inayat Ullah and Sons was a large size departmental store
in Anarkali Lahore. They would allow petty hawkers and mobile stalls in
front of their store on week days but not on week ends. On week days
both were beneficiaries, while on weekends only one.
Steve Jobs, of Apple
haring some thoughts on Leadership, towards the end. I have a little to
wrestle with, after the above exploration, giving all these examples and
drawing some lessons on creativity and synergy. Leadership is taking
charge of the situation. It is inspiring others to do singularly or
collectively, what you want to accomplish. It is the battle for the
hearts and minds of the people. One can describe leadership in more than
dozen ways. One can also trace the classic sources of leadership but to
find creativity and synergy. Creativity and synergy should act as
additional sources of leadership for current times.
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