Category Archives: Creativity

Relaunching Yourself At 40

Dreading your 40th birthday? I did.  But I survived and even thrived because I practiced one of the most critical leadership skills:  framing the problem or issue so you can better cope with it, learn from it and grow because of it.

What if I saw myself at 40 stepping onto a launching pad rather than onto a guillotine?

A launching pad?  How absurd!

Tell that to Jules Verne, the visionary author who saw deep into the heavens (From the Earth to the Moon), deep into the sea (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), deep into the center of the earth (Journey Into The Center of the Earth) and deep into the center of me. At least it seemed that way.

(This is adapted from Mint 3 in
THINKING Like a Leader,
Featuring 77 Leadership Mints).

Continue reading

In Deference to Difference

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to reinforce the power in diversity. Reading time: 3:21

      Natural gas is odorless –yet you can still smell leaking gas. Why?

      wind 1 powerlinesUtility companies add a chemical– methyl mercaptan– that gives the natural gas an unnatural scent.

      And some might say a life-saving accent.

      Adding that chemical –that beneficial difference —to the natural gas is symbolic of effective leadership.

       That’s because the most effective leaders bring together diverse elements to create a more productive, more efficient, and more effective working environment.  They understand that diversity can enrich, engage and empower creative and critical thinking skills.

      Indeed, effective leaders marshal a greater deference to difference. They foster a greater respect for the mastery of –and the majesty in — diversity.

      And no wonder, even Mother Nature’s awesome power stems from her deference to differences like these:

      Electricity flows because of the difference between a positive charge and a negative charge.

      Water flows because of the difference in water pressure.
Continue reading

Tuning In to Your Creativity

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to use music as a strategic thinking tool. Reading time: 3:09

      How do you fine tune your creative thinking skills?

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

       With a fine tune.

        Albert Einstein chose to play the violin to help him relax and problem solve more readily, according to his son, Hans Albert.

        Whenever Albert Einstein felt that he had come to the “end of the road or into  a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music. That would usually resolve all his difficulties,” Hans Albert recalled of his dad’s String Theory of a Different Kind.

        At any rate, music just may be the oil in the engine of creative and strategic thinking.  In fact, some of the world’s most renowned thinkers –leaders –were musically talented:

      Galileo, the son of a musician, played a guitar like instrument called the lute.
Thomas Jefferson played the violin.
Ben Franklin, who invented the glass harmonica, played the guitar and harp.
Henry David Thoreau played the flute.
Albert Schweitzer played the organ. Continue reading

Creativity: Making an Issue Out of Tissue

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help spark your new product creativity. Reading time: 3:38.

      gas maskThe vice president walked into his staff meeting late as usual. Wearing a gas mask.

      Eyes widened and jaws dropped around the table. His staff couldn’t make sense of what they were seeing.

       “No, I’m not a terrorist and I ‘m not going to blow the place up,” he laughed while taking the gas mask off his face.

        You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief among the staff, their hearts still pounding faster than normal, their breathing still accelerated from the visual shock.

       “But maybe this gas mask can spark our creative discussion this morning on new product ideas,” the vice president added in ramping up his teaching point.

      He explained that Kleenex, the $1.2 billion facial tissue and category leader, initially was developed as a filter for a gas mask during World War I.  Then as a facial cream remover in 1924. And finally as a facial tissue that today catches running noses in 140 countries! Continue reading

Wrapping your Talent in a Creative Ribbon

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your appreciation for creative work. Reading time: 4:14

       The custom-made hats in the dress shop looked stunning. And the hat designer was just as captivating.

       ribbon3 A crowd of customers had gathered around a ribbon-strewn table. The talented hat designer mesmerized them with his magic, turning a piece of ribbon into a creative one-of-a-kind hat in a few minutes.

       The lady, visiting the big city for the first time, was amazed. She just had to have a custom-made hat like that. No matter what the cost.

      The crowd dispersed and she found herself alone with the talented hat designer. He obliged.

      In 10 minutes he wove a single piece of ribbon into an attention-commanding, one-of-a-kind, custom-designed hat. She was delighted.

       But then she saw the invoice.  It cost at least three times what she expected. The lady complained. “A $300 hat in 10 minutes made out of ribbon?”

      The hat designer unraveled the ribbon with none of the flair that he had in transforming it into a hat. Then he handed the ribbon to her, saying: “Madam, the ribbon is free. ” Continue reading