Many business leaders are hindering creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship

Global convention call for corporate policies and practices to encourage and support creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship rather than frustrate and repress them
By: Policy Publications
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
PETERBOROUGH, U.K. - April 22, 2017 - PRLog -- Many business leaders are obstacles to creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and the openness we need for the to cope with disruptive innovation, according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking at a global convention and world congress in Dubai, the author of Winning Companies, Winning People told business leaders: "Too many directors and boards are excessively concerned with order and standards. They are slaves to particular models and approaches. They are intolerant of diversity and reluctant to let go and empower others."

Coulson-Thomas questioned whether business leaders really value qualities such as independence, intuition, openness and non-conformism, and recognise and reward critical, imaginative and independent thinking. He suggested: "Many directors enjoy wielding power, but they may have earned their spurs in a previous era when expectations were different and possibilities more limited. Another business model may have applied. Yet, they still think they know best. They issue policies and take decisions. They then monitor the extent to which others comply and fall in line."

He continued "Directors usually justify calling the shots. They claim position privilege, broader awareness and a more strategic perspective. In reality, many directors are preoccupied with internal issues and challenges facing their companies. Front-line staff may be much closer to customers, the marketplace and local communities. They may also be earlier adopters of new technologies."

The professor suggested: "Senior executives can be surrounded by "groupthink" and the eager to please. Cocooned within a head office, they may be unaware of ferment outside and developments on-line. More executives should leave their air-conditioned offices and engage with, observe and experience the lives of customers. Obtaining insights from different situations can open one's eyes to changing requirements and new possibilities. It can raise questions and spark ideas."

According to Coulson-Thomas, too many directors "are excessively concerned with order and standards. They are slaves to particular models and approaches. They are intolerant of diversity and reluctant to let go and empower others. Their companies employ and serve people from many nationalities in a multitude of locations. The roles and activities of employees widely differ. Markets fragment. New business models emerge. Customers may seek bespoke and personalised responses. Yet many directors try to stamp out variety and impose uniformity."

The professor called for a different approach: "Encourage people to challenge, to be open about problems and to suggest solutions. They should be supported and allowed to work, learn and collaborate in ways, and at times and places, that best allow them to give of their best and be creative and productive. Help them to learn from mistakes and failure and to build upon their achievements. Pixar blossomed because openness, honesty and constructive questioning and comment were highly valued. People actively searched for better approaches.

An experienced director who has also served on national and local public sector bodies, Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas advises boards and has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. He shared key lessons from his recent investigations during a plenary session of the Dubai Global Convention 2017 and 27th World Congress on Business Excellence and Innovation. The event which was organised by India's Institute of Directors was held at the Hotel The Grand Hyatt, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, is Chancellor of the School for the Creative Arts, Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe operations, and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of United Learning. Author of over 60 books and reports he has held professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. Colin was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California, is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his latest books and reports can be found on

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