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Über dieses Buch

Taylor leads readers through creativity and how it relates to leadership followed by the five stages of theory behind the idea: 1) preparation, 2) time-off (or incubation), 3) the spark, 4) selection, and 5) elaboration.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Craft, Art, Creativity, and Leadership

Chapter One. Craft, Art, Creativity, and Leadership

Abstract
Human beings have always been masters of craft. We make things, and some of those things we decorate to make them special. Our ancestors spent a lot of their time making things such as knives and adding complex decorations to the handles to make the knife have some meaning that was different from that of other knives. When I was a teenager, it was commonplace to add patches or embroidery or otherwise decorate your blue jeans to make them special. This creating and making special are the origins of craft and art.1 The Industrial Revolution consisted largely of taking traditional crafts and turning them into modern production processes by taking the variance out of the process, by breaking the process down into its component parts and making assembly lines, and by introducing machinery and automating as much of the process as possible. Our material standard of living has increased greatly as a result.
Steven S. Taylor

Theory

Frontmatter

Chapter Two. Focus on the Process

Abstract
Imagine that you have just been promoted to be the director of consulting services at the small software company where you have been working as a client manager for the past couple of years. It is a newly created position, and the four client managers, your former peers, will report to you. What sort of leader should you be? Should you be participative as you recognize that things aren’t very different from last week when you were one of five client managers and you suspect that most of your time will be spent continuing to mange the client relationships you are personally responsible for? Or should you be authoritarian to establish yourself as being in charge? Or should you try to be charismatic or authentic or transformative? Should you focus on crafting a strong vision for the newly formed consulting services group? In short, what will it mean on a moment-by-moment basis for you to be the leader? What will you do as a leader, or in other words, what should the (creative) process of leading look like for you?
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Three. Creative Mind-Set

Abstract
The focus on the craft skills of the discipline rather than a focus on any particular outcome from it is one way that the creative process is different from the approaches we teach in business schools. In this chapter I lay out the critical difference between the creative mind-set and how we teach people to think in business schools. At its heart is the question: “As a leader how will you approach the world, how will you understand what is happening and make choices of how to act?” For example, let’s suppose you are the president and founder of a small software consulting services company. You have been successfully providing programming services based on interfacing with the Windows operating system in a way that your customers find useful but technically difficult. However, Microsoft has recognized the customer need that you are filling, and in the next release of Windows the interface will become part of the operating system. Your niche will thus be eliminated. You have twenty-five programmers on staff and need a new strategic direction as you anticipate all of your current business drying up within six months. What do you do? How do you decide what strategic direction to pursue?1
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Four. Passion

Abstract
In the job interview scenes in the previous chapter, would you hire Joe? Would you want Joe, a former weapons systems countermeasures team leader, to lead your lawn mower manufacturing engineering group? Or would you prefer someone with almost no managerial experience who races lawn mowers on the weekend? If you were Joe and you had been working at the cutting edge of technology in advanced weapons systems development, would you want to lead a lawn mower manufacturing engineering group? In the abstract, this is a question of how well leadership skills can transfer from one domain to another and a question about underlying passion. I’ll look at the domain question in chapter 6 and explore the topic of passion here.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Five. Collaboration

Abstract
The vast majority of things that we want to do are bigger and more complex than can reasonably be accomplished by a single person. Simply put, that’s why we need organizations—pin order to find a way to work together. It is the classic and perhaps original problem of organizational theory—how do we coordinate the efforts of multiple people working together on a single task? Usually we divide the task into smaller parts and worry about how to coordinate those smaller tasks so they fit together. Although there may be some aspects of a group creative process that can be divided into individual tasks, the creative process in general and leadership in particular—even self-leadership—require collaboration.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Six. Creative Domain

Abstract
So far, I have suggested that if leadership is a creative process, then we need to focus on the practice of leadership, but I have not yet really talked about what the practice of leadership is (other than the example of the Action Inquiry skills at the end of chapter 2) or even what leadership is. This is in part because defining leadership and a practice of leadership is not as simple as it might seem. When Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls to six championships, when was he leading and when was he just playing basketball? When he would take the ball at the end of the game and make the winning shot, was that an example of his greatness as a basketball player or his greatness as a leader, or both? When the director of research and development for a consumer products company puts together a team to develop a new deodorant, is he or she being a leader? To answer these questions in any reasonable way, we have to define the domain of leadership.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Seven. Craft and Art

Abstract
So far I have been exploring the way in which the craft and art of leadership are similar in that they are both creative processes. I now turn to looking at ways in which they are different and how the two interact in the dance between craft and art.
Steven S. Taylor

Practice

Frontmatter

Chapter Eight. Leadership in the West Wing (With Yacan Gao and Giuseppe Contini)

Abstract
So far I have talked about the creative process of leadership craft and leadership art in terms of different aspects of the model—process, collaboration, mind-set, creativity, and domain—as if they were really separate activities. Of course, they are not separate, and in practice they are all part of the same leadership process. Here, as we turn from theory to practice, we shall look at how these different aspects play out and interact in the craft and art of leadership.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Nine. Your Own Process

Abstract
One of the hallmarks of artists and craftspeople who spend their lives engaged in a creative process is the way in which they pay attention to their own practice, their own creative process. The same is true for leaders who see leadership as a creative process, whether or not they aspire to a craft or an art of leadership. For leaders the critical issue comes down to three steps.1 First they need to understand how their own actions contribute to creating social interactions. Second they need to figure out why they act in that particular way (as opposed to the countless ways that others might act in the same situation). And third, they need to actively experiment with other ways of acting. By doing this, the leader takes conscious control of her own leadership practice. These three steps may sound simple, but in reality they are very difficult. Luckily there are some helpful techniques that anyone can use to become more aware of her own practice.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Ten. Going Deeper

Abstract
Engaging with your own practice as described in the previous chapter is a critical skill for developing your own leadership craft. Alongside the practice of looking at your own process is a second critical practice that I call going deeper. It is connected to the exploration we saw in the previous chapter where Osana looked at why she avoided conflict and Randy looked at why he needed to win. It is an exploration of your self—who are you, where do you come from, what is your passion, what jazzes you, where do you want to go? These are questions fundamental to identity and leadership.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Eleven. Developing the Craft and Art of Leadership

Abstract
The practices of looking at your own process and of going deeper are crucial, lifelong practices of the creative process of leadership that is at the core of both the craft and the art of leadership. But they are by no means the only aspects of learning to be a creative leader. In order to talk a bit about the larger picture of developing creative leaders, let me introduce a brief model of learning.1 The model starts with the three things that influence how we make sense of the world, which are our personal history, the specific context, and our technical knowledge (see figure 11.1). These then determine our frames, which are the theories and beliefs we have about the world that guide how we make sense of things. Based on these frames, we act. The actions produce outcomes. We learn about our own practice as we create representations of what happened and reflect upon them. Different learning modalities focus on different pieces of this process.
Steven S. Taylor

Chapter Twelve. Coda: Final Reflections

Abstract
Leadership is a craft. It’s as simple as that. In some cases, that craft may produce art—it may engage the imagination and take us someplace we have never been. Most of the time, it doesn’t need to be art, but it is always a craft. I don’t think this is new, but it is a different way to think about leadership.
Steven S. Taylor

Backmatter

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