How to destroy creative capital

Business in London
Business in London (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

I was reading an expose in an entertainment magazine how an executive producer has been responsible for a long-standing TV soapy going from 1,653,000 to 569,000 viewers in one year.

The executive producer is still in her job. Long-standing fans complain about the pathetic storylines. The executive producer doesn’t even seem to be involved in the early stages of production as she should be. Top actors are leaving the show. The show has gone from winner to loser.

There are a lot of questions to ask about such a dismal failure. Where does one start? Why have things gone so bad?

We’ve seen this all before. People get promoted to positions of power and rule with an iron fist. Rapid decay sets in. Suddenly the numbers start dropping until it becomes like an avalanche.

You might not be interested in the demise of a TV soapy series but this disaster has some lessons for small business owners. What would you think about yourself if you were making sales of R1,653,000 and after a year you were down to R569,000?

Would you be proud of yourself? Would you be worried? If it was your own business, you’d be having nightmares. If you are using other people’s money, especially public money, and can wind yourself up into a state of self-righteousness and beyond reproach, then you might just shrug it off as something you’ve destroyed and move onto a bigger position with an even fatter pay cheque and more capital to destroy.

In the never-never world of spending public money, people don’t seem to give a damn. Running your own business, every penny counts.

In running any type of business you have a store of what I’d like to call creative capital. You can grow this creative capital through your leadership and the people that work for you. Or you can neglect it and over time the numbers will tell how much you’ve neglected it.

You’d think that in a creative business such as producing TV shows and acting that the leader would revere and grow the creative capital of everyone who works for the show. But once so-called leaders believe in their own self-importance and think that they know better than their viewers or customers, things go awry. The job of the leader is to nurture and grow the creative capital of the employees, the company and their products and services so that they can compete more effectively.

As a leader whether you are small business owner or someone creating a new start-up, you will quickly recognise that creativity, capital and courage go together in getting your new business or products off the ground. All three work together because creativity takes courage and its implementation into innovation requires capital. In fact, you might say that a business is the sum of its creative capital or is worth the net present value of its creative capital.

Creative capital is built through nurturing creativity, building trust between yourself and those who work with you and for you, learning to spot opportunities, handling conflict gracefully and ultimately putting yourself in the humble position where you don’t know everything yourself and need others to help you achieve the vision you have for your business.

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