For many people, the mention of creativity conjures up thoughts of great artists, writers or musicians. But in reality, we can all tap into our inner creativity by looking below the surface at what makes each of us tick.
The Computer Programmer
As I started writing this article, I contacted people in various roles to find out what motivates them. The first person I talked to was a software architect. He said he’s motivated by “the process of writing sexy code, as well as seeing people’s lives get easier/quicker/more automated based on my efforts.” Interestingly, his key motivating factors consisted of “the process” and “my efforts.” For him, it was about his passion for work and using his talents in a meaningful way.
Message to Managers: Find out which aspects your employees enjoy most about their jobs and which provide them with the resources and opportunities through which they work their magic.
Deadlines—One Man’s Passion, Another Man’s Poison
Another busy, creative person I spoke with mentioned that deadlines are motivators. Even when he knows he’s got plenty of time to work on a project, he prefers to wait until the eleventh hour, when “creative energies start motoring.” However, I’ve also had employees who seem almost paralyzed by approaching deadlines and need time to work through the creative process in a very deliberate way.
Message to Managers: Team leaders should try to identify which employees work best under various conditions and assign projects based on those traits. Better yet, during the hiring process, select employees who fit into your company’s culture.
Accountants, Truck Drivers and Kids
Everyone in an organization can be creative if given the opportunity. Creativity goes beyond just clever words, powerful imagery and producing a tangible item—it also encompasses innovation, resourcefulness, imagination and vision. From an accountant who comes up with a more streamlined way to process invoices to a truck driver who finds a more efficient route to a child who designs a better system for managing homework, creative thinking comes in all shapes, sizes and ages.
Message to Managers (and Mothers): Establish an environment in which each person feels comfortable expressing concerns, sharing ideas for improvement and trying new experiences. Sure, there will be some failed attempts at problem solving, but there may also be some very exciting and positive results.
Remove the Roadblocks
As we think about creativity and what could be standing in the way, I’m reminded of a quote from Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of VISA credit card association. “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.” TPW