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Tech entrepreneur, author and investor Scott Belsky centered his remarks during his keynote on day two of CompTIA ChannelCon, being held at the JW Marriott Austin, July 31 to August 2, on how to allow creativity to flourish in business. “Something I’m passionate about is creative teams that never get things done,” he said. He allowed that plenty of teams are prolific but shared his frustration over ideas that never happen. “Now some ideas should never happen,” he said, pointing to bad movies as an example.
But when a person or company has a good idea, he pointed out, it creates a sensation. “When a new idea strikes, excitement is very high,” he said. “So when you want to return to that excitement, you just come up with another idea, and another idea. You need your ideas to survive that project plateau.
This means avoiding pitfalls such as a lack of leadership capability and creative exchange, which requires organization. Belsky advised spending energy on how you organize and organizing with a bias to action; stating that creativity times organization equals impact. He described a successful friend of his who still makes daily to-do lists on paper; an old-fashioned approach that apparently works for this individual.
Addressing meetings, he said “if you leave a meeting with nothing actionable it shouldn’t have been a meeting at all.” To this end, he recommended standing meetings to ensure everyone gets to the point.
“Share ideas liberally. We have to push ourselves to do this, even if it’s uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s an interesting thing that this doesn’t happen all that often.” Why not? According to Belsky, people may fear their ideas may get stolen or are half-baked.
Belsky offered some interesting advice; including viewing anyone who does the same thing as you as competition, and that teams should feel free to argue to “fight your way to breakthroughs.” He also advised not becoming burdened by consensus and overcoming the stigma of self-marketing, as well as breaking through bureaucracy and asking lots of questions in order to innovate.
In assessing the value of members of a team, Belsky pointed to the Peace Corps for guidance, saying that when people who work for the charitable organization need to get to know a given village, they ignore who’s popular or who’s important but closed off and look for the person who everyone else goes to for information. Interestingly, Belsky stated that such people are usually the first to get let go when a company struggles. For this reason, he advised leaders to “value your company’s immune system.”
Belsky closed his remarks by advising the audience to gain confidence from doubt. He said he’s asked successful people, “When did you know you were on to something?” One respondent, an individual who quit a good career to get into e-books before they became a trend, answered, “Because people said I was crazy.”