Better. Faster. Cheaper.
Those are the siren calls of managers today -- always on the lookout for ways to make their workers more productive.
What if you discovered that your teams would actually gain productivity by taking the time out of their day to be creative? While carving out time for creativity may feel like a waste of time upfront, you may be surprised to find that the results of making this space will be far-reaching. The daily grind and immediate needs of others don't leave a lot of time for thinking outside the box, but you'll see that scheduling time for creativity is a critical ingredient for high-performing individuals and teams.
Small Investment, Big Rewards
Getting creative doesn't mean you need to pull out the fingerpaints and scissors in your common room.
It just means that you should offer your team members a variety of ways to choose their own path when it comes to specific tasks, brainstorm new ideas (and implement them!) or look for ways to help others. Taking as little as 90 minutes every week two weeks gives people the time and space to unleash their great ideas and helps them work smarter -- not harder. This small investment can pay off with big rewards. Even if you don't implement every idea, your team will be excited to get together and share their thoughts and suggestions and know that they're being actively listened to.
Creativity Takes Many Forms
Brainstorming is an easy way to build camaraderie within a team and also generate some amazing ideas, but what are some other ways to bring creativity into the workplace?
These tips can help you get started on a productive time together.
- Create effective work groups. It's important to ensure that your teams are well-balanced when creativity is your goal. If you have one individual who tends to overpower the conversation, it can be tough for others to join in on the fun.
- Make it challenging. Consider asking your teams to solve a unique challenge -- maybe one that's not even related to your current situation, but designed to help people come together around a common goal.
- Give them space. Not physical space, mental space! If individuals are so concerned about daily tasks that they're unable to devote the mental capacity to the project, you're not going to reap the benefit you might expect.
- Allow freedom to choose. If you're offering a specific work opportunity that needs to be overcome, don't get too tied down in the details of how it needs to happen. Ask that teams consider the "Blue Sky" approach, where there are no boundaries, no limitations (systems or individuals) and just go for it. The sky's the limit!
Perhaps the most important thing to remind your teams going into a creative space is that all judgment should be suspended.
There are no bad ideas. Every individual deserves to have their idea or direction fully listened to. Don't evaluate ideas before their time or you will interrupt the flow of information that is what brings true creativity to light. After a few sessions, you may be surprised to find that your teams are excited -- and not reluctant -- to join in on the fun.
With luck, this openness, creativity, and conversation will begin to flow throughout your teams on a more regular basis. As people come to realize that others will listen, they are more likely to share without fear. Let your creativity free and reap the rewards!