Creativity often gets lost when we focus on all the tasks we need to accomplish each day. In this rush to “do” things, we are losing out on so much, including imagination and creativity. Without fostering these abilities, how could we have soaring cathedrals and beautiful art? How could we have innovative companies that are changing the course of the future through technology, research and determination?
When we lose creativity, we are losing the part of a business or organisation that can grow and adapt to change, and it means we can find ourselves at a dead-end, devoid of talent and without a route to success.
When you ask people how creative they are at work, what do people usually say? The answer probably depends on the profession the person has. An artist or musician might say they are very creative, but a CEO or manager might just stare at you and shrug.
Some jobs simply don’t leave much room or leeway for creativity. The list of tasks to complete each day might read like a check-list of sorts, and there isn’t an opportunity to expand or even improve on this check-list.
What happens when an organisation becomes infatuated with checking the boxes on these lists? Creativity is one of the first things to be forgotten, but this is likely to become a fatal flaw for the company, slowly festering until the problem cannot be ignored any longer.
Without creative juices flowing between staff members, performance and innovation will start to melt away, and the most talented and creative staff members will probably also disappear, off to greener pastures where their brains are valuable and useful.
Creativity Is A Skill Needed Now AND In The Future
According to the Future of Jobs Survey 2018, creativity is a skill which is already high in demand, and creativity is projected to be even more necessary by 2022. Businesses have had to adjust their expectations regarding workforce skills which are now needed. Leaders are seeking employees who can develop new ideas and find creative solutions to problems their organisations may face.1
People have been using their creativity to solve problems for eons, from developing new weapons to discovering uses for medicinal plants and herbs. Why do so many leaders and managers seem reluctant to encourage creativity in the workplace?
- Fear or uncertainty. While many would be loathe to admit it, sometimes fear and uncertainty can drive us to avoid new things. Although creativity in the workplace certainly isn’t new, giving employees time to think creatively and a proper space to really explore this part of their brains might be. Leaders may also feel uncertain about their own positions. After all, if someone else has a better idea, what’s keeping them from leading, too? This kind of thinking can be toxic and can prevent new ideas from ever seeing the light of day.
- Habit. Sometimes, it’s simply habit which is holding us back from new ideas. Lots of people enjoy checking items off the list for the day, and they don’t necessarily want to engage their brains in novel thought processes.
- Lack of diversity. Diversity brings so many perspectives into a situation. The brains of each of us are vastly different because of our hopes, dreams, and life experiences. We each have something to contribute to help solve a myriad of problems, but only if we are present. Organisations which lack diversity are also missing out on creativity.
You can’t use up creativity.
The more you use, the more you have.
Encouraging Employees To Be The
Best Versions Of Themselves
When companies encourage people to be the best version of themselves possible, they are encouraging and supporting creativity. Teaching others the value of mindfulness, laughter and humour can make a huge difference in the office. Leaders should support their employees in their quests to improve their brains by allowing them to do creative things, both in and out of the workplace.
It isn’t enough to merely open your mind to being creative, it’s important to practice being creative. Consider it a “use it or lose it” skill, and leaders should recognise how difficult it is to be creative when the people who work for them are bogged down with menial tasks which chain them to desks inside for hours at a time.
McCabe Curwood, an Australian law firm which values core principles such as courage, integrity and excellence, recently hosted an event called ‘Leading with Laughter’. I was very excited to be the keynote speaker and facilitate this workshop. It was encouraging to see the attendees improve their creativity by understanding the importance of taking time for themselves and what mindfulness can truly do for the brain.
It is always a joy to help others learn a new way of thinking which can stimulate and fan the flames of creativity. Leaders of the future must be well-practised in using their creative brains, but so many organisations are slow to recognise the value of creativity. McCabe Curwood is seeking to create an environment where people can grow into leadership positions while becoming the best versions of themselves.
Read more about their vision and how supporting a brain-friendly culture could boost your organisation.
The Value Of Investing In Creativity
As we start 2020 and leave an entire decade behind, we should reflect on the past and focus on the goals for the future. Science is now telling us how important creativity is in leadership, but will we choose to listen? Will we support leaders as they endeavor to take more risks and embrace creative thoughts?
When we invest in the development of creativity, we are investing in the possibility of the future. Creative solutions are required for some of the most pressing issues humanity faces, from global economics to the effects of climate change. While every organisation has different needs and requirements, a common thread between all of us is that creativity is now sought after and desirable in our workers, from leaders on down the ladder.
Creativity Labs, such as the event at McCabe Curwood, can offer a chance to make changes which can usher in a new way of thinking. The rest of the world is demanding talent with a creative brain--are you keeping up?
1. World Economic Forum. The Future of Jobs Report 2018. World Economic Forum, 2018.