It’s that time of year again for those families with graduating high-school seniors. Finally able to take a momentary sigh of relief, as for most of you, your child has done the work, has been admitted to college, and is just waiting to finish off one last summer. It’s been a long 12 years, helping your child prepare for the next four. The college admission process has become more rigorous and parents feel that they must start early to build their child’s resume through academics, sports, volunteer activities and other achievements. So, you helped them get into a good college, but will that be enough to help them achieve success in the job they ultimately land after graduation?
As schools and parents have gotten more and more focused on academic achievement and after-school activities, we have also been losing sight of the one characteristic most corporations now have come to value the most: Creativity. According to a 2010 study by IBM, CEOs state that creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business. “The study is the largest known sample of one-on-one CEO interviews, with over 1,500 corporate heads and public sector leaders across 60 nations and 33 industries polled on what drives them in managing their companies in today’s world. About 60% of CEOs polled cited creativity to be the most important leadership quality over the next five years, compared with 52% for integrity and 35% for global thinking. Creative leaders are also 81% more likely to rate innovation as a “crucial capability” (Fast Company: Austin Carr, May 2010).
So, for those of you who have children whose college aspirations are still on a distant horizon, as you spend time driving them to soccer practice and helping them with their math homework, don’t forget to make time to help them build up their creativity skills. There may not be a place for it on their college applications, but for those who have had that skill nurtured in them by their caregivers, they just might be the ones to find themselves with an important place in the future of corporate America.