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Why Watching Movies Makes You a Better Business Person

How often do you indulge your creative spirit?

Creativity makes you happier and successful.  Yet for many people, their work is devoid of creativity.  Sometimes it seems like organizations specialize in sucking the creative spark out of people.  Roles and departments get siloed and with no outside creative energy, people wind up just going through the motions.

That’s where movies, music and art can help.  In the program we run for leaders at the Noble Purpose Institute we use a five sensory approach to jumpstart innovation.

One of our favorite techniques is free writing to music.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your song – We put the video clip of Come Alive from the Greatest Showman on a repeating loop.  With the crazy costumes and dancing, it’s a visual, emotional and auditory experience.
  2. Pick a prompt – Ours was: Where does your team need to come alive?
  3. Write nonstop – Put pen to paper or hands on keyboard and, this is the hard part; DON’T stop writing, not even for one second. No self-editing, you just keep going, even if it means you’re writing things like, Why is she making us do this?  I have nothing to say, this is so stupid.

Our group wrote for 8 solid minutes to Come Alive.  For leaders who don’t think of themselves as creative or writerly types, the first few minutes are painful.

One VP said, “At first I was just writing, ‘Where does my team need to come alive?’ over and over again.  But then, part of my mind unlocked, the words poured out of me.  I starting writing, ‘Why do our people seem so bored?  Why don’t they smile anymore?’  Then I found myself writing, ‘I want them to come alive in meetings.  I want my managers to strut through the office excited.’  I don’t even know where that came from.  I had no idea I felt that way until I just started writing.”

That’s the point.  When a leader realizes he wants his managers to strut through the office on fire, it’s more powerful than, “Let’s work on employee engagement.”

With the vision of his team strutting through the office on fire, we then asked, “What will it take to get your people strutting?”  The ideas poured out.  “We can run our meetings differently, we can change our reward programs, and we can lift up customer compliments.  We can have dance classes, we can have a strut contest.”  All this from someone who only 30 minutes early said, “Our business isn’t that exciting.”

Watching Hugh Jackman and the circus performers Come Alive, helps people envision a new reality.  Other leaders had similar epiphanies.

People are often afraid to go for a creative edge, because they worry about application too early in the process.  I prefer the Picasso model.  During Picasso’s career he went through a blue period, a rose period and an African period.  He did a deep dive into one thing.  He went crazy with it.  Then in the next phase he refined it.  Pushing the edge on the crazy enabled him to define it and later assimilate it.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, a process and book considered essential by many creatives says,  “Creativity is God’s gift to us.  Using the creativity is our gift back to God.

We all have creative coursing through our veins.  The question is, are you willing to let your inner artist show up at work?