Creativity and the right mindset

Creativity and the ability to handle ideas well matters in business and will continue to differentiate the successful businesses from those that are left behind. Aren’t organisations around the world creative? Yes, some organisations are, but when an organisation stops being creative they are risking being a stuffy place where getting things done takes forever. 

Organisations that are left behind have a mind-set of “Yes, but…” and are not willing to learn anything new. New and fresh ideas are not seen as valuable assets and the organisation does not listen to their employees or to their customers. They have become what I call ‘institutionalised’ .

The environment and culture you create for you and your team to work in will matter. One key part of this environment is how you’re handling new ideas, and how you and your team and the whole ecosystem of your organisation are working together. The power of saying “Yes, and…” to new ideas are enormous, it makes people engaged.

I’ve heard comments such as: “We have tried that before and it didn’t work” many times. What this really means is that the people who tried previously could not make it work. It has nothing to do with you and your abilities. If anyone is negative about your idea or suggestion, it means that they, at that moment, cannot see how it will work. What they say is not the whole truth.

A former colleague stopped developing a new marketing campaign simply because his boss made a funny face when he presented it to him. Could he be sure that his boss’ face really meant that it was a bad idea? Or could his boss just have had something else on his mind? I suggested that he should ignore the funny face and continue developing the idea, and he did. After a few weeks in the incubator he launched his marketing campaign and everybody he needed help from bought into the concept and his boss loved it.

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Do you think in the same way as the person in the example above? Do you dare to change your own thinking pattern? Are you just slightly improving on what you have? To be truly great and stick out these days, you need to do things differently. Doing things differently means that you have to open up the creative resources you have both within you and within your organisation.

You’re responsible for your own creativity 

You have your personal creativity, your team’s creativity, organisational creativity and the creativity of the ecosystem you belong to. Creativity takes many shapes and forms and is present at all stages of your life.

You’re personally responsible for feeding your creativity, and it’s wise to review what helps you to get into a better flow. We are all different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Team creativity can be tricky. This is the type of creativity that you and your team are most likely to work with. Most of us are not artists and writers working independently. We are part of a bigger system and we should learn how it’s working and how we can improve on it.

Ask yourself:

• How are you handling new ideas in your team? Are you responding in a positive way or are you killing many new ideas in their early stages?

• Can your organisation welcome creative thinking in a better way? Or, are you stuck in old patterns?

• Is the ecosystem you’re working in holding you back and do you feel that it’s impossible to innovate and bring new creative solutions to the table?

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How to handle ideas well 

When you dare to say yes to new ideas and you start to use creativity principles, you will unleash an enormous amount of power. Dare to improvise with what’s on offer. How can you make the most of the opportunities you have around you?

There are several good behaviours that you can adopt to get the flow working better. Here are some examples:

• Treat all ideas with respect from the start: like the ugly duckling they might just transform into the most beautiful creature you can imagine.

• Give your colleagues/partners positive feedback every day.

• Have regular team meetings so that people learn to share what they are doing and update each other on projects.

• Stay in a conscious state of mind as often as you can.

How are you and your team working together? Can you be nicer about the ideas you are producing?

This article was first published at the Training Journal as a feature.


Sofie Sandell is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – Dare to be creative, it’s easier than you think’, to be published soon. 

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