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Creativity part 3

Cogs or key players?

Before people will become truly creative and start to generate ideas and energy they must have a pride in what they do.
If people are treated like cogs in the machinery then this won’t happen.
It must be made clear that all personnel play a part in the overall success of the organisation.

This ‘entrepreneurial’ approach means that people will think about what is round the corner, they will plan ahead, They will contribute ideas and effort to solve problems and help the company run smoothly.
For long term success this can not be left just to managers.

Creating the mindset

It’s difficult for anyone to generate ideas and feel enthusiastic if they have no idea of the purpose of their actions.
Knowing how they fit into the organisation will raise performance motivation.

Organisational goals must be communicated well. Not just in terms of profit and loss but:

Why are we doing this?

This could be to improve market share, keeping one step ahead of the competition, to increase the reputation of being at the leading edge of technology, to make a real difference to society in some way, improving the environment, responding to new legislation etc.

Why not provide easy access to the company report or brochures. Get local managers to give presentations removing the jargon and explaining it in simple terms.

If there is access to local performance reports look at these and compare them to other areas.
Explain the costs of doing the work for the department and how this fits into the jigsaw ultimately affecting the bottom line.

What is the timing?

People need to know what’s expected in 1 year, 6 months and 3 months down the line.

What’s the company vision?

Where is the company going and where does it want to be in 1 to 3 years? How does it want others to see it?
The most innovative? The greatest service? The largest turnover? Huge in china?

Communicate at many levels. Provide videos, create access to employee, company and competitor news.
What is the organisational history? Tell people.

Allow people to attend conferences, trade venues, encourage subscription to professional associations, obtain and circulate journals covering your specialist areas to see the cutting edge activities.

Look for other printed material, magazines, books from the local or company library.
Why not set up a departmental library with some key books in it?

Where do you fit in?

Tell people how their own roles will make a real difference and get motivation on the increase.

Do you have a Mission Statement? If so tell people how their efforts contribute to it. Encourage people to get together and solve problems and come up with options.

Why not look for a business training programme that can be given to groups of people and pitched at the right level.

Why not take the time to examine the performance of one person or team to show how costs have been saved, time has been saved, ideas applied, particular hurdles overcome etc. if you have no genuine examples that month then focus on proposed ideas and cost implications or present a theoretical example to show the size of possible impact.

Conversely, show how poor performance or technique in a particular area can have a dramatic negative impact on your results, your reputation and costs.
For example, you may be working on a 5 stage process and performance drops by 1% on each stage.
If the ‘normal’ performance level is 95% then overall we get 77.4%.
If performance drops by a mere 1% the overall value is 73.4%. Naturally, this will be higher for increased numbers of stages.

How does the company fit in with competitors?
You can ask customers you deal with their opinion of your company in relation to others in the industry.
Why not compile a folder containing the information on competitors and ask someone to be responsible for maintaining various information data bases?

Encourage use of the internet for rapid retrieval of information.

Encourage creative thinking?

Organisations that don’t think will stagnate and eventually generate poor performers.
Motivation goes down.

Tell people that you will support risk (The Complete Risk Management package) taking but not recklessness.
Carry out some simple risk training.
There is no need for a full blown risk analysis (The Complete Risk Management package).
Tell people that the culture of the organisation is “we don’t blame people for trying”.

Failures must be used to gain experience and learn.
Are there any opportunities that can be taken up from this experience of failure?
If you admit your mistakes others will too.

Ask for innovative and imaginative thinking for proposals and problem solving.
Think about process and product improvements.
Why not set aside some time (see The Complete Time Management package) for creative thinking?
Use techniques like brain storm, use music to inspire.

Show that repetition is not always good when new ways can add value, excitement and motivation.

Much of this information could be made accessible via a company intranet system.
Above are a list of ideas and you will need to be aware of trying to implement too much too soon.