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Creative Unorthodoxy

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

In recent talks I’ve given, I’ve spoken about how important it is to be creative in accomplishing goals – like, unorthodox creative – and I recounted a favourite example of mine involving former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Winston Lord was a new Kissinger speechwriter, and he was tasked with some big challenges in that role - particularly since Kissinger was a speechwriter himself, not to mention a harsh critic.

One day Lord was asked to write a speech on foreign policy. Not a big deal, Lord thought. He set about his task and walked his document over to Kissinger’s receptionist a short while later. Done.

It was returned to him not long after with a handwritten note. “Surely you can do better than that”, the note read.

Lord figured maybe Kissinger was right, and he amended the speech somewhat. Tightened it up a bit and resubmitted it to the receptionist. Another note was provided along with the returned speech, with the same comment – “Surely you can do better than that”.

The speech went back and forth EIGHT times before Lord completely rewrote it, stormed past Kissinger’s receptionist and right into Kissinger’s office. He placed it down on the desk, glared at Kissinger and said, “Sir, this is TRULY THE BEST I CAN DO!”

Kissinger looked up at him from what he was doing and said, “Well, in that case, maybe this time I’ll read it”.

THAT’s using creativity to ensure the best result.


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