You have talent, are good at what you do, but to move on by yourself and get better, you need to be creative. Erik Algreen-Petersen is an expert in releasing creativity and has clients as diverse as Hollywood producers and peace building UC professors. He was fired before he realized the fulfilled work life.
He will be attending the seminar Next Practice Symposium from the 18th to September 20, 2013 on the Energy Academy, and below you can read his story. You can find the schedule for the seminar here.
“It started the day when I was sacked. It is six years ago and I was CEO of BSL, one of the largest commercial production companies in Denmark. I had been editor in four years, but I was perhaps not very good at it. I did not do things the way I thought they should be. I had ideas for it, but I dared not execute them. I was afraid for my Board size, afraid of being fired. It was hopeless, because I ran around and tried to be ‘real manager’ and I did not even understand. So it ended up that I was fired with four months’ notice. I wanted to burn it all down because I was so angry. Probably most of all with myself, but I tried to give them the blame. So asked my brother to me why I have not tried to get as much as possible out of the siding four months, I had left. And when I came home and aired the idea for my family, my son: ‘They can only fire you once.’ I thought, ‘So I can just rock.’ And so I did everything I thought most of. I took a number of specific initiatives in the four months and they managed all together. It was the actions I had not dared to take before because they were creative, unconventional and demanding-enlisted courage.
I won including three major customers, Coca-Cola, Matas and Magasin, with three new directors, we had not used before – and one was American sleighs and had never directed anything before.
It was four good months. I was really good. I knew why I was doing my projects. And it was good projects in the world. I helped creative people to get their voice out and be recognized by their audience. I would like to continue.
So when I left the company, I looked for a way where I could be close to creative people. I had for many years seen friends, colleagues, creative people, go out and make the same mistakes acquisitions again and again and be deeply frustrated when their project went into the sink. They had no idea what to do to avoid that happening again. And when they had success, sunning themselves in it, but had no idea how to go out and repeat it. They had no system for very much – so it seemed at least to me. I simply thought it might be done better.
So I started to explore creative people and organizations
- Erik Algreen-Petersen
- Age: 48 years.
- Owner of the company Method + Company.
- Office: a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 4
- Plus: Started first Danish location agency in 1992. Managing Director of BSL 2001-05.
- Examples of clients: – Dan Lin, film producer, best known for ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Terminator Salvation’, current in 2012 with ‘Gangster Squad’ with Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn. – Alex Bogusky and Rob Schuham, a former advertising men, now social entrepreneurs. – Jens Martin Skibsted, designer and creative director, founder of the bike company Biomega. – Casper Christensen, comedian, organize and owner of Douglas Entertainment. Prior to their collaboration was Casper Christensen, a one-man company, today his company Douglas Entertainment over 25 employees and manufactures ‘Live from Bremen’, ‘The Blind Spot’ and the website ‘Funny Haha’. Company when in 2011 a turnover of around 35 million. £
- Demonstration projects: Together with Jesper Elg from V1 Gallery, I made a creative collective in A house on Islands Brygge in Copenhagen called The Owl and The Horse and worked with a lot of interesting people such as Martin de Thurah, Anna Maria Helgadóttir from No Fear, and a numerous others. The advantage for me was that I went up and down them, so I collected data on all their projects, analysed them, and found that what made the difference for whether projects were worse or better compared to the target was some quite specific points: exactly where a creative person faced a choice, made a decision and acted on it. In projects where it was positioned slightly below stringent after an election, was taken conventional decisions, e.g. based on the need for rent, others’ expectations, etc. Options can be summarized as fear based, fear of failing.
In projects where it went better after an election, was taken creative flair decisions, e.g. based on a desire to create, or “I have to see what happens if I do this,” or “this can change everything ” etc. Options that required courage. So my question was: What does the human qualities to be brave so constantly and consistently as possible?
From what I have developed a method where I as a catalyst helps creative people get identified and formulated, why they do what they do, what drives them and what about-stances it will take for them to work at as high a level as possible. They get a platform to stand on when they need to make courageous decisions. I have lived in Los Angeles for three and a half years and developed and worked with the method with clients in USA, Germany, England and Scandinavia. I work through lectures, seminars and courses.
What I want with it here is to create a world where people are valued and recognized for being who they are. It is not something I can make that happen all the time and every day. But it succeeds often, more and more, and it satisfies me much every time. It is the everyday, the work I strive for. When I am not seeing it, I get tired of it and attachments, I am wasting my time, think I’m bad at what I do.
I am a catalyst. I help creative people with logic and rationale for their creative force, so they can handle it. I live by creating my own vision every day. “
Three tips for a creative work
- Find out what kind of world you want to create with what you are doing. People boosting their creativity for one simple reason: They think something needs to change. In other words, the world must be a better place. Whatever that is for you. That is why people create. Clarify what it is for you.
- Tell the people involved, what it is you want to change that, and how important it is for you so you can get help. That way you attract like-minded and gets the strongest support. At the same time, you avoid that involve people who do not share your vision.
- Find out what creates the largest problems for you and take responsibility themselves. Every time you bump into obstructions, being misunderstood or stopped, and you look for blame and responsibility for it in your surroundings, take a break, take responsibility yourself, and ask what you can do to change your situation. You cannot afford or power over your surroundings, but you have over yourself.