I Bring My Creative Authority With Me, And I Take It With Me When I Leave

The topic of ‘me’ vs. ‘we’ comes up fairly regularly. I am fan of “I…” because there is skin in the game. Too often, I find people hide behind ‘us’ in order not to do anything or stand accountable.

I am often looking at this topic to (re)orient myself. How do I add the most value? What can we do together? What leadership is required, and by whom? Is it my turn? (And the answer to that is, of course. Yours too).

I do not spend much time thinking about power. As Godin advises, I try mostly to pick myself. This is very liberating. However, it does not mean I do not respect organization politics or logistics.

I am very aware of the hows and the whys. I am absolutely fine with formal lines of authority, with fitting in and accepting the culture of the whole that is built up over time. Things have gotta get done, we need to coexist and prosper without too much friction (although tension is a healthy thing!)

So I really connected with this article about emergent organizational mechanisms from Tom Dixon. He delineates between formal authority and creative authority. Now we are talking. If the formal mandate is agreed collectively and continually, maybe I can play with it, test it, tension it creatively. Of course!

The creative opportunity is mine, it is something I can work out and through, and then gift it to the organization. It is within my mandate to test, decide, learn, understand. That is the “I…” that does not compete with the “we…” but instead adds to it.

And it is the “I…” that I can take with me. The learning, the understanding, the wins and losses, the growth – these are mine to own. “I…” contributes to the “we…” but can leave it all behind without feeling loss, because the vision and the optimism comes with me.

←This Much We Know.→

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