How creative teams rise to the top
Every organisation is looking for that secret ingredient, the one that helps them solve problems quicker than their competition and makes them the go-to for their clients and customers. Getting creative is usually the ‘solution’, but what does ‘getting creative’ really mean? How can you make sure you’re fostering creativity within your team in an effective way?
Does creativity mean napping pods and pool tables?
There’s a reason why, when you think of creative teams, you think of Google, Twitter or Apple. These companies have gained a reputation for having ‘fun’ workplaces. Whether our ideas of their offices are accurate or not, many people picture slippery dips, putt putt courses, cereal bars and napping pods when they think of a creative workplace. These things are fun, of course, but they aren’t feasible for many organisations and, if they’re not built on a foundation of true creativity, they’re only gimmicks — gimmicks that many workers actually find disruptive to their work.
Google is a great example of an organisation that has plenty of ‘fun workplace’ staples but also backs them up with a great creative foundation. They implement a 20% system, where their employees are encouraged to use 20% of their time to focus on a personal interest. Taking this approach meant that they ended up with some of their most iconic and recognisable outputs — Gmail, Adsense and Google News. Given the time to create, team members had the chance to think of big solutions to big problems.
So, what do you need to really drive creativity in your team?
Listen up — when everyone keeps their ears and eyes open, they become tuned in to the ideas around them. It’s not just listening to each other within your team but it’s also about listening to your competition and to the world around you. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to listen to the world around us. Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere, so it’s important to be listening.
Ask questions — many organisations find themselves in a rut because they’re unwilling to change the way they’ve been doing things. Encouraging your team to question the way things operate is one step to helping your team identify better ways of working.
Shake things up — there are countless ways leaders can help their team to shake things up. Creativity isn’t something you can get on tap and it’s certainly unlikely to happen if you sit at your desk all day and never move. Encourage your team to take breaks, to go for a walk, to work from home if possible! Change the location of your meetings every now and then. A change of scenery can do wonders to get the creative juices flowing. There’s no need to go crazy, but shaking things up can mean that your team starts thinking differently and when they think differently, they come up with great ideas!
Diversify your team — having a diverse team isn’t about meeting quotas and you can be sure that anyone who tries to tell you that is locking themselves into a team with limited creativity. Having people on your team who are different from one another in subtle, as well as obvious, ways means that you’re bringing different perspectives to the table. It’s all about looking at a problem from different angles and trying new ideas.
Are you ready to harness the creativity of your team? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.