Creativity is a core leadership skill and it’s a skill you can learn. It’s about accumulating new knowledge, changing your perspective, developing new perspectives, and telling a story, may be a different story.

The four cues that put us on the road to creativity:

  1. The Impasse Cue
  2. The Dissatisfaction Cue
  3. The Surprise Cue
  4. The Crosstalk Cue


PAGES framework to change or create new Ideas and Perspectives.

  • Parts
  • Actions
  • Goals
  • Events
  • Self-Concepts

a “computer” (Part) is one kind of item that an “unhappy employee” (Self-Concept) might “carry” (Action) out of the “company offices” (another Part) to “sell for cash” (Goal) as part of a “stealing” Event.


End products of creativity:

  • Insights
  • Inventions
  • Enlightenments


Tools for Creativity:

  • Analogy
  • Re-categorization
  • Combination
  • Association


Creativity is not an instantaneous event but a journey. It requires effort and persistence. We have to get used to rejection.


Working in teams has a lot of benefits but it also presents pitfalls for being creative. Teams put up the following barriers:

  • Conversational bottleneck – only one person can talk at a time. Solution: Give problem to people before and ask them to bring their ideas in writing
  • People feel lazy in groups. Solution: Track individual contribution during brainstorming
  • Make people intimidated.

How teams kill creativity:

  • Conformity. Solution: If the dissenter gets a partner OR allow the dissenter to speak first.
  • Blind Obedience.
  • Polarization.
  • Pluralistic Ignorance – People feel like a deviant in private when they are not so they remain silent. Solution: Dissent, bring-in new people.
  • Common Knowledge – people tend to say common things.
  • Over-confident teams – teams develop over-confidence over time as they work together so they feel less need to be creative. Solution: Dissent, Conflict.
  • Working in teams feels creative
  • Normative Influence – because people want to fit-in. Solution: Individualism.


The right team composition is important for creativity. Every team member to be creative is not a good idea. Ideally, it is best to have mostly creative but 1 or 2 conformists on the team. People who care about little details are always detrimental for creativity. Narcissism is good for creativity. 50% members to be narcissists is the best but it’s good to have at least 1 or 2 narcissists on the team. Switching team members to bring-in fresh perspective is good for creativity.

Norms that promote creativity:

  • Right team composition
  • Narcissism
  • Individualism: Individualism is good for creativity; collectivist people are less creative.
  • Norms that permit Dissent
  • Norms that permit Competition


If we have a composition of creative people, no need for strong norms. They naturally exhibit divergent behavior. You can leverage strong norms to encourage non-creative people to be more creative.


Ideas between creators and evaluators can be:

  • Hits
  • Correct Rejections
  • False Alarms
  • Missed opportunities

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We like practical people in leadership positions than creative people so creative people have to bear that risk. When in decision making role, one usually makes a tradeoff between Quality and Novelty to reduce tension.


Indicators of Creativity:

  • Expertise – required but can also narrow your perspective
  • Culture – one thing can be considered creative in one culture but not in another
  • Role – something can be creative or not based on the role we are in

People judge the pitcher as much as the idea for creativity. An idea from a pitcher who looks non-traditional is considered more creative.


When pitching your idea:

  1. Think about your audience – their PAGES
  2. Confidence is important
  3. Make them feel good when pitching – food, etc.
  4. Think about what your audience presumes about leadership
  5. Door in the face – Start with an outlandish idea and then come down to your intentional idea
  6. Foot in the door – Start with a small idea to get their buy-in and build on top of the idea once they are committed
  7. Present ideas in-person and not in an email
  8. Reciprocity – do something for them so they feel compelled to reciprocate


Changing others’ perspective:

  1. What are the PAGES of our audience?
  2. Which of those PAGES need to be changes?
  3. What cues might trigger the change in PAGES in them?
  4. What tools can we offer them to help them change their perspective?

Tell them a story:

  1. It forces us to start at the beginning
  2. Keep your message simple
  3. Use surprise – it generates curiosity, emotions.
  4. You have to be credible
  5. Repetition break stories