Embracing Creativity and Collaboration: A Conversation with Sam Bennett
As a podcast host, I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Sam Bennett, a creative entrepreneur with a rich background in theater and radio production. Our discussion revolved around common leadership challenges such as procrastination, perfectionism, and decision avoidance. Here’s a recap of the insightful conversation we had.
The Journey of Sam Bennett
Sam Bennett’s journey is a testament to the power of creativity and problem-solving in leadership. From her early days as a theater kid to her time at the Second City theater in Chicago, Sam’s diverse experiences have shaped her unique perspective on leadership. Despite never having a job in corporate America, Sam became fascinated with how highly creative and intelligent people make decisions, particularly entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. This curiosity led her to start a class called “Get It Done,” which eventually evolved into a full-time business.
The Importance of Creativity and Problem-Solving in Leadership
Sam and I both agree that creativity and problem-solving are crucial in leadership. We discussed the importance of avoiding the “smartest guy in the room” mentality and fostering collaboration and creativity within a team. Leaders who constantly demonstrate their intelligence and overwhelm others with technical jargon can stifle collaboration and kill inspiration.
To address this, I suggested confronting the “smartest guy” and having an open conversation about the impact of their behavior. By acknowledging their intelligence and letting go of the need to constantly prove it, leaders can create a more inclusive and collaborative environment. Sam added that setting the stage for participation from the beginning of meetings is crucial. By encouraging everyone’s voices to be heard and valuing their contributions, leaders can foster a culture of collaboration and idea-sharing.
The Role of Curiosity and Learning in Leadership
We also touched on the importance of curiosity and being open to learning. Sam emphasized that leaders don’t have to be the smartest person in the room; they just need to be curious. By engaging in activities where they are admittedly terrible, leaders can experience the challenges and growth that come with learning something new. This helps them empathize with their team members who may be facing similar challenges and fosters a beginner’s mind and a sense of humility.
Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Decision Avoidance
Our conversation then shifted to the topic of procrastination and perfectionism. Sam clarified that procrastination is a natural part of the process, as everyone tends to leave things until the last minute. Deadlines serve as triggers for action and help move tasks forward.
Sam shared her personal experience of being overly sensitive and anxious about everything in her 20s. She felt the pressure to excel in every aspect of her life, from parallel parking to auditions. Eventually, she realized that she was putting too much pressure on herself and decided to adopt a new mindset. Instead of striving for perfection, she decided to aim for a “C” grade, which meant simply showing up and doing the work without going above and beyond.
The Power of Effective Communication
Sam Bennett and I also discussed the importance of effective communication in the workplace. Sam emphasized the need for open and honest conversations, framing them as a collaborative effort rather than a confrontation. By acknowledging their own discomfort and vulnerability, both parties can work together towards a common goal.
I added that setting clear expectations and obligations from the beginning is crucial. I suggested having a tough talk upfront to discuss these expectations and invite an exchange of ideas. This aligns with the principle of contract law, where both parties have expectations, but it’s essential to define their obligations for a successful outcome.
Understanding Individual Preferences
We both emphasized the significance of treating others the way they want to be treated. We referenced the book “The 5 Love Languages” and how understanding individual preferences can improve relationships, both personally and professionally.
As we concluded our conversation, I thanked Sam Bennett for joining me and expressed my gratitude for her presence. It was a pleasure and a lot of fun having her on the show. I then reminded the audience that there is a video version of the podcast available on our YouTube channel, “Leadership Powered by Common Sense.” I encouraged the listeners to check out the video and leave a comment. I also invited them to suggest topics or themes that haven’t been covered yet or even become a guest on the show.
Finally, I concluded the episode by signing off and encouraging everyone to go out and make it a great day. I reminded the audience that they have been listening to “Leadership Powered by Common Sense,” hosted by me, Doug Thorpe. For more information about the coaching and advisory services I provide, visit my website at dougthorpe.com.
Originally from Chicago, Sam Bennett is a writer, speaker, actor, teacher and creativity/productivity specialist and the author of the bestselling, “Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” which Seth Godin called, “An instant classic, essential reading for anyone who wants to make a ruckus.”
Her latest bestseller is, “Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists.”
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