By Joyce Weiss
In today’s economy, many company leaders are afraid of creativity. Some leaders simply want to sustain the organization and don’t want to waste time or money by following an untested new idea.
Employees, too, are fearful of creativity. They know jobs are scarce and don’t want to risk losing theirs because of a brainstorm that has backfired.
What these companies and employees need to understand, however, is that organizations need to be creative all the time. In fact, the companies and employees who are creative in a down economy will fare much better than those who are afraid to rock the boat.
If you want to build your team and increase your bottom line, you must encourage creativity. Below are a few gems that will help leaders overcome any creativity fears.
Gem #1: Don’t be afraid of the word “creativity.”
Being creative does not mean coming up with an idea that’s bigger than life or that will go down in the history books as the greatest innovation of all time. Creativity does not have to be profound. In fact, it’s often the little things that have the greatest impact.
Gem #2: Creativity means looking for a second right answer.
Being creative simply means being open to new ideas. It’s about getting the “junk” out of your mind and making space for “what if” thinking: “What if we could …”
Shorten delivery times by three days?
Expand into new markets?
Cut production costs by 30 percent?
When you allow yourself to dream about the possibilities, creativity is the natural outcome.
Gem #3: Creativity is about letting go.
Status quo is the kiss of death for most organizations. When you’re creative, you have the confidence to let go of old ideas that may have worked in the past but that have no bearing now. You can see the current situation in a new light and can acknowledge that new times call for new ideas.
Gem #4: Creativity enables you to learn from mistakes.
Rather than let mistakes reaffirm your belief in doing things “the same old way,” see it as a learning opportunity. Look for new actions that you can take to improve future projects. Also, use your new knowledge to examine what the competition is doing and see how you can tweak it.
Gem #5: Only you can give yourself permission to be creative.
No one—not your organization, not your company’s culture, not your boss, and not your coworkers—can hinder your creativity. Creativity comes from within. Once you give yourself permission to be creative, nothing can stop the ideas from flowing.
Let’s Get Real
When people are creative, innovation occurs. Teams who are innovative get noticed because of the results they’re able to achieve. If you want to build your team, bring creativity into the mix. Let go and allow everyone to open up to the possibilities that exist. Discuss these five gems with your team and select the ones that fit your specific needs to make some exciting changes.
Joyce Weiss, M.A., CSP, is a corporate communications strategist and coach. For the past 30 years, she has perfected patented strategies that have addressed peer bullying, standing up to upper management, career advancement, and resolving conflict. Weiss has been a frequent speaker at ABA’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace, and she just launched an online coaching program: Communication Skills at Work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.