Reading is an important part of Centric’s culture – we’ve found that learning from the experiences of others is one of the best ways to be inspired. Good books and insightful lessons are shared frequently within the Centric walls – whether that be through team emails, via Twitter or in personal conversations. So, we thought we’d take a moment and bottle up some of the great reads that have impacted our own lives and thought processes. Below are 13 books recommended from Centric’s leaders. Take a look and enjoy! And let us know if you have comments on these books or others to recommend. We’d love to hear from you.
Book #10: Read “Creativity, Inc.” and create workspaces that unleash creativity
By: Tom Huth, National Data & Analytics Practice Manager
“Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of Inspiration,” written by Ed Catmull (current President of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disney Toon Studios), takes the reader through the fascinating history of Pixar, while at the same time describing the creative process and the managerial lessons that Catmull has learned throughout his career. The lessons laid out in this book could and should be applied to most if not all industries and workplaces. Unfortunately, because of the propensity to “Feed the Beast,” many companies miss the opportunity to propel their people to greatness and simply drive their people for profits.
With more than 25 years in the technology industry, I have seen time and time again how the business world can drain the soul and turn motivated, passionate people into zombies in the quest for profit. But I never believed that it had to be so and “Creativity Inc.” provides the keys to turn that tide. Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios rely on creativity to succeed in the marketplace, but in reality all companies rely upon creativity to survive because they must continue to innovate and move forward.
The first key to creativity is realizing that business still comes down to people. Catmull recognized early on that, “Great ideas always come from people; therefore people will always come first.” Hiring the right people and creating the right work environment is the fertile soil in which success can grow and flourish. Creating a work environment where people are encouraged to greatness, have the opportunity to develop and release the greatness that is within them, and learn to receive feedback without feeling threatened creates an atmosphere that has the potential to produce great products and services. It will also produce loyalty in both directions between company and employee, which is missing in today’s business world.
Fear is a terrible motivator and crushes creativity and greatness. Everyone makes mistakes, but we have a tendency to see mistakes as failure and try to avoid them at all costs. This myth should be attacked and torn down with everything we have. Failures and mistakes are part of life and those who achieve greatness are able to overcome them time and time again. Failure is something to be overcome, not something to fear.
Mr. Catmull also discusses the tendency to “Feed the Beast,” which is the focus on short term desires to produce quick results and profits. Having been a part of four different start-ups myself, I have seen one major difference between those who succeed and those who fail. When leadership tries to short cut the process, sacrificing quality, people, or both in the quest for quick profits, the train is heading toward a cliff. At this point of my career, one of my goals is to avoid companies that just want to “Feed the Beast.”
For me, this book helped me better understand some of the motivators that drive me at work. Before joining Centric, I had spent too many years working in environments that did not focus on any of the lessons outlined in Creativity Inc. I have seen firsthand what happens to good people who work in fear-filled, non-creative cultures. My desire is to work along side people who want to inspire others to greatness, not those who want to negatively drive people to complete tasks. Almost everyone would love to be a contributor at a company that does great things. All they need are people to inspire them, train them, and pull that greatness out of them. If that strikes a chord with you, then I would recommend this book and encourage you to try to implement these principles in your workplace. The business world would be a better place if these principles were in place at more companies.
My desire is to work along side people who want to inspire others to greatness, not those who want to negatively drive people to complete tasks. Almost everyone would love to be a contributor at a company that does great things. All they need are people to inspire them, train them, and pull that greatness out of them.