3 building blocks of a creativity culture

If you're looking to create a culture of creativity, I like to think of 3 vital building blocks as a foundation of your success.

 Here's #1 of my 3 building blocks of creativity, and it's around fostering the right mindset in employees. Because, you see, it's so easy, in our busy world, to "teach" people the wrong behaviours.

What do I mean by that? Well, imagine you're in the office (or the virtual office), having a really busy day. You have a to-do list as long as your arm, and someone comes up to you to ask you something.

    Excuse me Neil, how should I... (whatever the problem is)?

What do you do? You look at your watch, look at your to-do list, and then give the person the answer to their question. You probably give that answer pretty comprehensively, because you really don't want them disturbing you again 5 minutes later.

But there's a problem here - you've just taught that person something. And it's not just the answer to their question - you've taught that if that person comes to you, you will solve their problem. And this might solve the problem for the employee, but it creates 3 problems for you:

  1. It means that next time this person has a problem, they'll come to you again
  2. That person will tell others who need help: "Just ask Neil - that's what I did!"
  3. No-one thinks for themselves

The result of this, is that you have even less time that you had before, and the only ideas in the team are your own. You may as well employ a team of robots to do your every will.

Taking responsibility for the mindset of others

But the good news here, is that you have the power to influence the mindset of your team. Here are 3 quick-and-easy tips to push responsibility back to the team for coming up with ideas:

  • When someone asks you a question, get into the habit of responding with "what ideas have you thought of already?" or "what do you think you should do?" and people will quickly realise that, whilst you're there to help them, you won't do so until they've put a bit of effort in first. People will bring their ideas to you, and that's where collaboration can begin to make something great.
  • Encourage idea improvement by asking people to start with their own idea (or one of yours if they're really stuck) then ask for 3 ways they could improve that idea to make it even better.
  • Praise the fact that people have developed their own ideas, even if those ideas turn out to be unsuitable. You praise the behaviour you're looking for, not the results, and you coach employees to improve next time.

There's no point giving people the tools to innovate until you've got their mindsets right first, and remember: you are in charge of what that mindset is.

To learn more about how to create a culture of creativity and innovation, download my infographic here.


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