Monday, March 25, 2013
Creativity in Business
Creativity should not be a mystery, but to many business professionals it seems allusive. Most of us can remember times as kids when we played, colored, created art, made up songs and games, etc... But the social norms and pressures we face while growing up have caused many to put their creativity on hold once they reach their career.
While some may have creative hobbies, too few allow this part of their life to mingle into how they conduct business.
We seem to leave creating to those with job descriptions that call for artistic qualities - but creativity does not need to equal "art". We all face issues daily that call for solutions that are unique and fresh, but too often we take the proven route (with mixed results).
Re-tapping the kegs of creativity and letting our minds discover new paths is needed in most business situations We all have it inside of us to do this, but too many do not trust their ability to color outsides the lines in our daily routines.
In our fast paced and highly competitive world we need more people to attempt solutions to daily problems that block our success. Some fear they will be laughed at if they step beyond what is expected from them. Others worry about their job security as creative solutions are subject to failure.
I have had bosses who clearly were not in favor of experiments. One told me that there was no room for any failure in marketing (by its very nature, marketing should be creative), as the company had a limited budget and waste was unacceptable This message was received loud an clear, but it limited the way the company promoted itself. Employees were scared to try anything that would not be seen as having a pre-set as a victory. While little money was lost, there was also limited gain from successful marketing campaigns or other promotional activities.
Working for myself is changing my outlook on personal creativity in business. I have no trepidation about what bosses or co-workers will say if I attempt to release more creativity, but it is still a work in progress to get more playful in how I conduct myself professionally. I have been conditioned to see business in a certain way, and now I am re-inventing my point of view.
Trying new ways to interact with clients and prospects is having results. I enacted a common marketing practice from another industry, and invested in a campaign that lead to new business. Additionally my speeches and training presentations are becoming more interactive because I am "playing" more with the audiences.
Pushing yourself, and others, to explore creativity is necessary in our current business climate. Instead of thinking that failure is unacceptable, bosses need to encourage risk, as that is what brings reward. This is true in every industry (I see it in the meetings industry...where those who are willing to attempt stuff are seeing better results than those who are holding onto the old ways to plan events).
Group brainstorming, when all participants are fully committed to uncovering ideas, can have outstanding results. We cannot get to the good stuff if we do not feel free to toss out all thoughts to see what resonates. Each person tries to validate each concept and then build upon the previous idea. Not everything works, but this process can lead to major breakthroughs.
As I work with more companies (in a training and consulting role) I am getting better at helping facilitate environments where people can have fun with their creative spirits. While not everyone is comfortable sharing and being open to exploring creativity, those who do are inspired to keep seeking ways to let more creativity into their business world.
Creative executives will always be in demand, and often have more fun. When we are open to creating.... it brings out the best in all we do. I admire entrepreneurs who understand that they are really "artists" at heart, not just business professionals.
What are you seeing in your company? Is creativity cherished or pushed away?
Have A Great Day.