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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

Welcome to the STRUGZ platform where life principles, careers, and business tips are shared. It’s no secret that organizational leaders in the 21st century need to cope with and respond to increasingly complex organizational issues. Sometimes, these issues and problems can be solved by applying a standard formula or set of actions: rigorously analyzing the circumstances and drivers, applying logic to determine a course of action, or following what’s been done before. Other times, particularly when the issue is something the organization hasn’t faced before, genuine innovation is needed to solve problems and satisfy stakeholders.

This week's edition sheds light on the benefits of a creative workplace and how a busy workplace can be established in a climate conducive environment so as to enhance creative thinking and problem-solving.

In most organizational settings, leaders are expected to be able to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to work-based problems. And they often do. But fostering and harnessing the creative abilities of a whole team is likely to produce an even richer selection of creative ideas and solutions to work tasks and problems. This is because diverse group members collectively possess the knowledge and a variety of perspectives not found in just one person.

Specific benefits of creativity in the workplace include:

· Diversify your team

· Never say No

· Better teamwork and team bonding.

· Increased workplace engagement and interaction.

· Improved ability to attract and retain quality employees.

· Increased staff morale, fun, and happiness.

· Increased workplace problem solving and productivity.

But in busy workplaces where time is limited, how can a leader establish a climate conducive to creative thinking and problem-solving?

1. Intellectual challenge: Match people with the right problem-solving experiences, that is, experiences that challenge or stretch them intellectually. This enhances creativity because it supports expertise and intrinsic motivation. But, the amount of stretch is critical; too little challenge leads to boredom, but too much challenge leads to feelings of being overwhelmed.

2. Freedom to Choose Method: Employees tend to be the most creative when they are granted the freedom to choose which method is best for attaining a particular work goal. In other words, leaders and managers can set the goals, but it should be up to the team members to decide how to achieve them. Stable goals are also important because it is difficult to work creatively towards a moving target.

3. Organizational Support: The entire organization as well as the immediate leader or manager should support the creative effort if creativity is to be enhanced on a large scale. Organizational leaders should encourage information sharing and collaboration, which lead to the development of expertise needed for creativity and to more opportunities for intrinsic motivation. Executives who combat excessive politics can help creative people focus on work instead of fighting political battles. In a highly political environment, an employee would be hesitant to suggest a creative idea that was a political blunder.

4. Supplying the right resources: Time and money are important resources for enhancing creativity. Deciding how much time and money to give to a team or project is a tough judgment call that can either support or stifle creativity. Under some circumstances, setting a time deadline will trigger creative thinking because it represents a favorable challenge. False deadlines or impossibly tight ones can create distrust and burnout. To be creative, groups also need to be adequately funded. But it should be noted that creative activities can be achieved at little or no cost with very few supplies, depending on the activities chosen.

The more one engages in creative thinking, the better one becomes at it. Ideas produce even more ideas. But inspiration is only a small part of creative thinking. Commitment and application are also essential ingredients. Once you and your team know the idea you want to work on, be prepared to work at it, and to work at it some more, to fine-tune it.

In addition, to be worthwhile and effective, a creative idea must also be appropriate, useful, and actionable. It must somehow influence or improve the way things get done in the organization. The final stage of getting creativity to work is deciding how to put an idea into practice. Ultimately, you can come up with a brilliant creative idea, but if you haven't thought about how to implement it, it will die without seeing the light of day.

Do not sell yourself short, even the craziest idea that you think is completely off can often be the one idea that people latch onto. Employees do not be afraid to share these ideas with their co-workers and managers it will always end up being a win/win for the organization.


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