Companies, Culture & Creativity

It’s being said that one of the hardest things to change within an organisation is its culture. So how do you go about it when your business culture is hindering creativity?

In today’s world many challenges are caused by an unfavourable business culture: the set of unwritten rules that govern employee behaviour. Incomprehension, confusion, mistrust, fear and demotivated employees are its undesired results.

On the other hand, organisations that do have established a creative culture, have access to almost unlimited power. A climate of trust, freedom and creativity will reduce absenteeism tremendously and will have an enormous impact on the overall productivity.

Although culture is a difficult thing to change or develop, it’s not entirely impossible to transform it. The right (small) adjustments can lead to a tipping point.

Running an organisation is not just about management. Above all, it’s about creative leadership and the ability to create a better organisation.

A few simple ideas – based on trust, freedom and creativity – can turn your organisation into the flexible and innovative organisation that you so much desire. With the right improvements a lot can happen.

1. Make Progress Visible
It’s extremely demotivating when you don’t see results of your actions. Break your big goal into smaller objectives. Celebrate victories, no matter how small the results are. It helps us to remind that we are heading in the right direction.

2. Be Clear About What You Want
If you want people to be innovative, make sure that everybody knows what that means. Be specific about what you want. Don’t assume that people know what you mean. Explain it to them.

3. Make It Easy To Contribute
Huge targets are great, yet every success starts small. The first step is the most important one. Make sure that people don’t loose faith before they even get started. Break your big picture down into small goals and make it easy to get to the first success.

4. Stimulate Own Initiatives
It’s not very exciting to just do as you’re told. Make sure that you leave some room for interpretations, alternatives, own ideas and own initiatives. Autonomy is an important aspect of creativity.

5. Reward Teamwork
An excelling team is the secret behind almost any success story. To quote Helen Keller; “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Create teams, give them freedom and get out of their way.

6. Paint The Bigger Picture
Vision and plans are great, yet culture eats strategy for breakfast. If people don’t understand or care about your objectives they will not bother to help you. Let people identify with your challenge.

7. Be The Example
It’s simple, if you don’t do it, why should others. It’s a classic rule, yet often forgotten. Eat your own dog food. Show that you truly care and mean what you say. Be the change you want to see.

8. Always Be Positive
If you think the ideas of your employees suck, you probably gave them terrible instructions. Set a clear challenge and you’ll be surprised about the resourcefulness of your team to come up with ingenious ideas. Presume that all ideas are well indented.

9. Challenge People
Teams can do incredible things. Things they would never have imagined themselves doing. Most people have ambition yet it is often a vision that helps and inspires them to achieve the impossible. Challenge your employees, set an inspiring goal and you’ll get amazing ideas.

10. Act Upon Ideas
Nothing is more frustrating than great ideas that are being ignored. Make sure you’re not overlooking brilliant suggestions. Listen to your employees and take their ideas seriously.

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Flickr Creative Commons Image via Thomas Rusling.

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