When talking to business owners and entrepreneurs about their goals and challenges, I always like to focus on understanding their creative ideas for growth and development. Sometimes this can be met with silence and the response of, “but I am not creative at all.”
It’s true that successful business owners are familiar with the transactional approach to running a business (business planning, meetings, setting targets, sales and finance), but in reality, leaders are also very creative people and by harnessing creativity as a skill, we can all transform our businesses and grow them better, faster and more sustainably.
Creativity does not just mean thinking about creative marketing, design, sales or advertising.
The first creative thing most business owners and leaders have done was to create the business in the first place. This would have taken some creative thought process to establish a need for your services or products and you will have built a company and team around that creativity.
You can foster creativity in the workplace to solve problems, to look at innovative solutions, to enhance your customer relationships and to generate new ideas that could improve the efficiency of your business or that engages your workforce.
As a leader, it’s important to take a step back and look at the different areas of your business. Everything has the potential to be improved, whether it is your processes, your products, your people or even your environment. In order to effect this change, there is a requirement to think creatively about how you can best use your resources and networks to help you do this. The biggest asset in any business is your people. They will be extremely creative and will better understand the need for change. Talk to your people regularly and learn what ideas they have.
The more creative ideas that you can generate in the company, the more chance you have of finding solutions that work and that will help you grow.
Not every creative idea will work and some will quietly disappear. What’s important is creating an environment that fosters creativity as you will find that nugget which could really drive your business forward.
Without creativity, you run the risk of doing everything the same way and if you keep doing everything the same way then you will never see change. Until it’s too late.
Accept boredom. If you keep doing things the same way then you will get bored. Don’t fight it. It’s a sign that you need to be creative and find something new to do. Use it as a cue to get away from your desk and seek inspiration from others.
3 simple ideas that can help you foster creativity in the workplace?
- Internal Communication – communicate with your employees at all levels and support their ideas. Ask meaningful questions and learn about what needs to change. Look for those employees who are engaged and passionate about what they do. It will rub off, not just on you, but also on your other employees.
- External Communication – as a leader, it’s important that you get out of the office and go and meet new people. People are generally interested in listening to what you do and will quite often challenge your thoughts and offer different solutions that you may not have thought about. Learning from others is a great way to develop creative ideas that you can apply to your business.
- Read – there is a world of information available at your fingertips. Read business journals, magazines, blogs and social media. Leaders like to share their stories, successes and failures. You can learn from them and develop creative ideas that can be applied to your business.
Leaders still sometimes think being creative means that they were good at art and design at school. The truth is that being creative is more about using your thinking skills to problem solve and deliver positive change.
There are many techniques to help you think more creatively, but learning to communicate and listen to others is the best way that you can achieve creative success. At RWA, we have a number of techniques and solutions designed to help you and your teams think more creatively and we would be more than happy to discuss these with you if you want to get in touch.