start this off with one important premise: Creativity is necessary for any
person, organization, or profession to move forward and succeed. The past is
littered with the wreckage of those whose best intentions resulted in no more
than just maintaining the status quo.
But the problem is that far too many people believe
creativity is a special gift bestowed from on high to a select few. And many,
many, many (add as many “manys” as you would like) internal auditors have
bought into that belief. They seem to think that living in the realm of facts
and figures and documents and support and checks and cross-checks and tics and ties and reviews and re-reviews and re-re-reviews and details of the ad nauseam
variety means they must shy away from creativity like a grammatically incorrect
audit report. They believe their own press clippings, living under the
misapprehension that creativity is not in their bailiwick and should remain an
aperitif used occasionally to cleanse the palate before going back to the
things they know how to do.
A relevant quote from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
suggests otherwise: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask
creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they
didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a
People who run from creativity have to keep in
mind one important truth: It’s really not that big a deal. Fundamentally,
creativity involves just keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open to new
concepts. It is a function of keeping the inputs flowing and then finding ways
to bring those inputs together in different ways. After practicing that for a
while, the next thing you know you’re being creative without really knowing it.
Here’s your tip for today: Pretend to be creative.
I know of people who shy away from creativity because of fear, because they
think they can’t do it, and because of a whole host of excuses. But ultimately, they think that if they act
creatively they are somehow not being true to themselves and to their
profession. They believe that by acting creatively they are lying.
As cartoonist and author Lynda Barry once aptly
said, “There is no lie in pretending.” You don’t have to lie; you just have to
pretend you’re creative. And the more you pretend, the more it will become a reality.
By the way, did you notice what I just did? I’ve
had the Steve Jobs quote for a while. I stumbled across the Lynda Barry quote
last week. As I taped Barry’s quote to the wall, I noticed the Jobs quote and
made a connection. I didn’t really do anything; I just saw something.
Honest, it is that simple. Pretend and you will see
that it is not lying.
The truth is that you are creative.