Ep. 94 – Chris Loehrer: Creativity, Collaboration, & Innovation in Traditional Business Environments

Chris Loehrer is a right-brain person living in a left-brain world, meaning he is extremely creative, has a BFA in animation and film, but currently operates in a leadership role within The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA)… not exactly what you might expect from a creative type.

In this episode, Chris offers a unique perspective on the topic of leadership and shares the challenges he faces with getting some of his ideas across and accepted in a numbers-driven, linear thinking business environment.

Chris is the Studio Operations Manager at OSBA. He was hired to create innovative products and services for membership across all departments, as well as communication plans that tell the story of membership benefits and the value of membership.

However, the bulk of his work in recent months has been implementing new and innovative delivery methods for getting those products to members. In the process, he works with many different teams.

When working with different teams, Chris takes a “Minnesota nice” approach. He believes that we don’t have to be anything but friendly in our teams; it won’t serve you to act upon knee-jerk emotional responses, or for leaders to approach the team with a “this is the way it is” attitude.

A team doesn’t operate effectively, in the long run, that way.

The best teams are full of learners, Chris says, especially creative learners – people who can see beyond an obstacle and find previously unseen avenues for success are critical.

And while lawyers and accountants may not immediately consider themselves creative right now, Chris says, “People don’t consider themselves creative until they are given the opportunity to be creative.”

Like in improv, there are no wrong answers when trying to collaborative solve a problem; bad ideas are just bridges to good ideas. So fostering an environment where new ideas are not only accepted but encouraged creates more opportunities to solve problems.

“I’ve learned through fantastic leaders that active listening and thoughtful acceptance of what you’re hearing from other team members is a big deal, and you don’t have to be the person in the room who has the answer all the time.”




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