Creativity: Let it Flourish

Above all, what skill do you think a leader should master?  I’ll let you guess.  Any idea?  No?  Cue crickets chirping… 

Alright, alright — your silence is killing me so I’ll just tell you.  Creativity.  (Hence: dfs CREATIVE concepts.) Creativity is a powerful skill which needs to be cultivated and coddled by leaders. Creativity needs to bloom like a bright yellow sunflower on a hot summer’s day — or, in DFSCC’s case, blossom like a bubble-gum pink rose outside of our office steps.

And FYI — productivity and creativity do not have to clash. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. By withholding your creative thinking, you are holding back potential discoveries.

So… As a leader, how do you manifest organizational creativity?  

This time I won’t wait for your response — I’ll give you the answer right now. That’s how sweet of a blogger I am. At DFS, we’re sweet as sugar. Yes? Yes. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked.

Manifesting Creativity: A Brief Guide Presented By Yours Truly

1.  Create a work environment in which new solutions and ideas can flow.  Provide clarity about which direction your workers should aim their creativity towards.
2.  Define strategic concepts.  And by that, I mean aim creative thinking towards the goals of your organization and the customers you serve.
3.  Spread art on one slice of bread and commerce on the other like you’re cookin’ up a mouthwatering PB & J. Don’t be creative for creativity’s sake — focus your creativity towards commerce.  For example, how will your new idea make your clients a profit?
4. Provide a space for collaborative expression. Creativity is a social culture, one that is founded upon collaboration. There should be a place in which co-workers can bounce ideas off each other like players at a ping-pong tournament (Yes — those do, in fact, exist).
5.  As a leader, you should act in a way that your role is to guide but not fail.  Does that make sense?  Basically, creativity needs structure to flourish — but it also needs to not be constrained.

Phew, that was a lot.  I hope my advice made sense — because if you embrace creativity in the right way (which we do at DFS, whoop whoop!), your organization (and clients, more importantly) can truly benefit.

GBB photo 32417

How Full is Your Tank?

A few weeks ago, as I left the office, I received a phone call from one of those friends that you (under no circumstances) let go to voicemail (unless you are physically unable to answer the phone). Only, this phone call resulted in a comedy of errors that provided for much entertainment and, surprisingly, self-awareness.

Apparently her gas tank was empty, and she was stranded on the side of a busy intersection. And you know what? I love that she called ME.

Having danced on the edge of this one too many times myself (“ZERO is just a suggestion!” I always say.), I said “I’ll be right there. But how do you get gas? To a car? If it’s not at a gas station?” (We can discuss my lack of automotive knowledge at a later date.)

After walking me through how to buy an empty gas can, fill it with gas, and then (duh) drive to her to fill the tank, I thought we were all set.

Until, that is, we couldn’t figure out how to get the gas out of the gas can and into the tank. Fast forward 15-20 minutes (maybe 30, if we are totally honest), and we realized that perhaps the illustrated directions – on the sticker, on the gas can – would probably give us the coveted information we so desperately needed. (Calling spouses and admitting defeat and/or asking what to do was not an option.)

All of this didn’t happen without multiple passers-by stopping to take photos of what probably looked like a stand-up comedy routine. No, nobody offered to help. Not one person. Yes, one of us was head-to-toe in Lilly Pulitzer and the other was wearing the standard leopard print stilettos, a flowy top, and oversized sunglasses. And yes, there came a point where we were so desperate to fill the tank that we tried to splash the gas into the tank. Which only resulted in the ole 80-20 rule – 80% wound up on us and our clothing and 20% wound up on the street.

However, once we actually followed directions which were presumably illustrated and designed by those who knew what they were doing, we got the tank reasonably full and were able to get moving again. Granted we smelled like gasoline for two weeks, but that’s beside the point.

The whole experience got me thinking. How often do we run on empty? How often do we, as those who work both within the home or outside of it (or both) think “I can make it just one more mile. . . even though the indicator is flashing bright red and says ZERO”? How many times do we actually ONLY fill up our tanks when we are prompted to by the light? When is the last time we thought “Hey, let’s put some gas in the tank. . . Just because I know I’ll need it one day.” (Usually such forethought, at least in my case, only happens when preparing for a long drive.)

So I concluded that (at least for me) many wait until we are empty to fill ourselves up. . . And the only time we find to proactively fill ourselves comes when on the front-end of a long journey where we know we will need it.

And that’s not really any way to live.

So I don’t know about you, but I’ve started to make it a priority to not wait until my tank says ZERO or I’m stranded before I do things to nourish myself mentally, physically and emotionally. A small break here, doing something nice for myself (no matter how seemingly insignificant) there, saying “No” without citing a reason and little things that internally validate who I am and what I believe in. . . All of those come together to fill my tank so that I won’t find myself at ZERO or stranded in any way, shape or form.

Here’s to filling up your tanks. And also to those friends who are there to help you refill it when you were too busy being everything for everyone, and you didn’t notice you were running low.

Now about that piece of chocolate cake and a side glass of champagne. I’ll take one of each, thank you very much!

Friday Vibes: Stay Happy with Hobbies


Everyone wants it, yet the road to attain it is anything but easy. Some will devote their entire lives to this escapade, and it is far too easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of tasks (I am guilty of this).

However, it is highly important to remember to include free time into a busy schedule. Any high achieving person will tell you that a balanced, successful lifestyle does not consist of just work. In fact, taking up a hobby can contribute to boosting your overall success– and who doesn’t want that!

To illustrate my point, let me give you a few examples. Entrepreneur Richard Branson spends his free time playing chess, Meryl Streep knits, and Ray Dalio practices transcendental meditation (fun fact: Wall Street Bankers are now signing up for these lessons).

So, are you seeing a trend yet? You bet you are! Successful people don’t just work all of the time (although it may seem like it). Instead, they dedicate themselves to activities and practices that make them feel good. After all, when you feel good, you work well (and in the case of our #GirlBosses, you look good too).

Not all hobbies have to be educational. In fact, Angelina Jolie’s favorite pastime is collecting knives with her family (let the record show that I am not attempting to motivate you to begin collecting weapons). Other more non-conventional hobbies include, sky-diving, playing polo on a segway (I highly recommend you look up photos), learning the ukulele, baking, and sailing.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find something exciting that you’re passionate about. Take an art class if you’re artistic, or go Bungee-jumping if you like getting your adrenaline pumping (Sorry, but I think I’ll have to sit that one out)

You’re new hobby awaits, and believe me, your work (and success) will thank you.