Category Archives: Creativity

Inspiring Creativity from Your Team

Throwing Ideas

Get your team together and throw some creative ideas around!

Your team is a lot more creative than you give them credit for.  As a matter of fact, you are probably a lot more creative than you give “yourself” credit for.  Most of the time we do not realize our creative potential because we never take the time to truly be creative.  We rarely set aside a few hours with our staff, key leaders or team and simply “create.”  Stand in an empty room with a white board and say “what could we do that we are not doing now?”

One of the greatest joys I have is when I get to create with my staff.  When we begin to brainstorm and let ideas flow.  The process is thrilling as I watch my team begin to create, think differently and come up with ideas that have never been exercised in our organization.  A free flowing environment is a joy to be in and to lead. One of the greatest things you can do is to begin hosting monthly creative meetings, where you and your team are allowed to create in a non-threatening strategy session.  But if you are going to have these kinds of meetings you will need to have the following “rules of engagement” in order.  These rules are adapted by Craig Wilson from his talk on “Recapturing your creative spirit.”

1)  No blocking
When your team is having a creative strategy session there can be “no blocking.”  This simply means that you cannot continually put up roadblocks for the other person’s idea.  For instance if someone says “Lets do this or that.”  You don’t say “Where will we get the money or we don’t have the personnel.”  That is critical thinking and that is a step you take later.  Let people flow with ideas and don’t block them with reasons “why” it won’t work.

2)  Yes and…
When someone is flowing with ideas help the idea to grow by saying “yes and…”  In other words if you were working on putting together a banquet and someone had an idea, instead of blocking their idea say “yes and…we could also do this.”  When you use the principle of “yes and…”it helps to initiate creative momentum.

3)  More ideas
Take your ideas and have your team write them down on small post-its and put them all over the walls.  This will allow people to see the ideas that are flowing.  But once you have begun working on ideas, don’t stop; come up with even more ideas.  Often people get into a box and they begin to think only in beige.  The people on your team need to think in color.  As I said earlier, “your team is a lot more creative then you think.”

4)  Wild ideas
These are the kind of ideas that are almost embarrassing to speak out loud.  But they may be the ideas that your team needs to hear.  Encourage the people in the meeting that everyone has to be open about every wild idea.  You need the kind of ideas that others have thought before but were too afraid to voice.  Help your team to see the value of these crazy and wild ideas.

5)  Critical thinking
This is where you begin to take all the ideas that have been voiced by the team and begin to work them out into a plan of action.  The thing you will notice is that you don’t need to say “this idea won’t work,” or “that was a dumb idea.”  You won’t need to say this, because the team will just naturally begin to discuss the ideas that resonate in each of their hearts.  The process of elimination will happen without you having to push for it.

Why don’t you schedule a time with your team right now.  Set aside a couple of hours and work on a project together or some goals for the future.  Have a big white board to write on and a pad of post-its for everyone.  Let them begin to write ideas out, place them on the wall and let the creative session get big and wild.  You will have a blast and your team will begin to realize their creative potential.  The end result will be that the floor of beige will open up in your organization and loud, vibrant colors of creativity will come bursting through.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:

“Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. Effective leaders are able to shake up their thinking as though their brains are kaleidoscopes, permitting an array of different patterns out of the same bits of reality.” –  Rosabeth Moss Kanter