Ideas: Encourage A Creative Environment

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “Handle with CARE: Motivating and Retaining Employees” (McGraw-Hill 2002.)

In an article titled “Creativity in Teams” in The Inner Edge, Steven R. Pritzker, Ph.D., writes about being a part of the greatest creative team in television history—the group that produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It won more Emmys than any other prime-time show. He finds that creative environments, environments where new ideas flourish and people give their very best, share certain features:

  1.  Innovative organizations offer a work atmosphere in which everyone can safely express ideas (respect). The approach of the executive producers created an atmosphere in which the show belonged to everyone, and that resulted in a staff that worked harder and felt prouder (reason for being).
  2. The leaders in creative organizations are not afraid to let go of the reins (atmosphere). These leaders will seek honest feedback about their behaviors and use it to improve leadership. Creativity will flourish only when ideas are received with as much support as possible; creativity cannot grow in an atmosphere that is controlling, bureaucratic or inflexible (respect). Leaders are often unconscious of how their controlling behavior causes others to be fearful and “shut down (atmosphere).”
  3. Creative collaboration can grow with differences of opinion(empathy). Fighting is good! But that’s not the same as fighting caused by poor communication. Differences of opinion can be beneficial when openly communicated (creative communication).
  4. Creative organizations make sure to include all members in the process of developing ideas (appreciation)—and use humor to diffuse any tensions (enthusiasm). Thomas Edison started each day with a joke-telling session. A happy, upbeat atmosphere helps foster creativity.

What kind of an atmosphere have you created for your team?

Ideas for a more creative environment:

  • Create an innovation chamber—Set aside a conference room, cafeteria, hall (anywhere except an office) to use as a space for meeting and exchanging ideas. Set up two or three easels with paper and offer a wide assortment of colored, good-smelling markers and crayons for writing ideas. As people enter the room remind them that “anything goes” and “every idea is a good idea.”
  • Set up a creative corner—Stock the area with books, learning games, creativity videos, and lots of toys. Encourage your employees to spend a little time each week playing in the creative corner to bring our the imaginative child in them. Decorate the room with employees’ baby pictures to reinforce that we all need to be more spontaneous.
  • Post a brainstorming board—Write out a common problem on a colored index card and post it in the center of a bulletin board. Provide white cards on which employees can write and then post their solutions and responses.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at bglanz@barbaraglanz.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.

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