Of course I’m going to tell you the importance of creativity; I am a creative, after all. You may think it an incredibly biased post for me to write, and although you may be quite right, I want to challenge you that whether you’re an accountant, an architect, a doctor or a shopkeeper, creativity is key for your success. I am not suggesting that you bring your paints to the workplace – though who knows, it may help – I am suggesting that you look at your position through a different set of eyes.
What I’m suggesting is that you don’t do things the way you have always done them, simply because you’ve always done them that way. How you do things currently may be perfectly fine, but how will you know how much more profit you can make or how much time you will save unless you do them differently? Richard Branson is incredibly creative in the way he runs his business; he takes risks and tries new things; he challenges the ‘norm’ of how to run a business; he rewards his employees well, not only with money, but with time and incentives. In turn he gets better workers and makes more profit.
Creativity is not just about pen or pencil to paper, it is a thought process; a way of life. It is looking at the task in hand without a manual of how to complete it. It is looking at your project without the expectation that you will finish it in the exact same way you did so last time. It is finding new ways to see the mundane, new ways to develop, new ways to connect.
Ultimately creativity is a connexion; finding a solution to someone’s problem in a way that maybe no one else has. The client that emailed you this morning may have just wanted a straightforward answer to a question, but creativity challenges you to give him more. How can you serve him in a way that is more than just meeting his basic concern - are there other ways you can go the extra mile for him and make a deeper connection? People are all about connections; we are all longing for someone to make us feel good; to recognise our uniqueness.
And it doesn’t work solely for impressing clients; how you connect with your employees or colleagues is equally important. Thinking differently, creatively, around how you can challenge and encourage them will increase the profitability of your business. People do not work hard solely for money, though you may think they do – they strive for a deeper recognition; deeper job satisfaction. If you paid someone £1000 an hour for shovelling excrement with their bare hands do you think the pay makes the actual labour any better? Sure, more people would be willing to do it, but it doesn’t mean they will actually enjoy the process or do it any better. How about if you provided them with good equipment, a mask, tea breaks, good music, encouragement, a hot shower at the end of the day? My point is, that no matter how much money people want to make, the job still matters. Thinking creatively about how to make someone’s day better is important; they will work harder for you in the long run.
Being creative is not just thinking about the here and now, or about ticking lists or churning out work. Being creative is challenging yourself to make more everyday connections, and to do them differently. So as you go about your day today try not to get sucked in to the methods you are so used to, as though your life is on autopilot. Challenge the way that you think about your projects; your workplace, your colleagues or your staff. How can you improve your business for the better and make deeper connections? Start by thinking creatively.