Monday, 2 december 2019 | Redacción CEU
All experts agree that a large proportion of the work that professionals now do will be automated in the coming years. This forecast should make us wonder: What can we do to remain essential? What are the things that machines cannot replicate? There is something that technology cannot imitate, at least for the moment: divergent and original thinking. This is characteristic feature of creative minds. In order to be innovative, many companies are becoming aware of the fact that they need both to implement and promote the latest advances in technology and to have professionals who know how to take advantage of these advances, in addition to responding to the different scenarios that they bring about and provide new and original ideas to these projects.
Creativity is the great change force of human beings. This is the reason why the companies that want to adapt, prosper and stand out in the current VUCA context – the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment- need to adopt a creative approach in their work. This new point of view means more than just hiring professionals who meet the characteristic features of the creative profiles. Constructive imagination and divergent thinking are not only innate, but they can also be cultivated. Thus, how to boost creativity at work? What are the key aspects in which creative companies should work on?
Creativity stays away from strict guidelines, established habits and automatisms. This means that to be creative, you have to forget the rules to some extent. How to deploy a strategy like this from an organizational point of view? Companies must create favorable working conditions by offering employees greater autonomy, a margin for experimentation, a time for reflection, etc. A creative company defines the goals properly, but gives its employees freedom to achieve them, because the greatest obstacle to creativity is fear. Employees and middle managers must have some leeway when questioning established processes. When they feel that the consequence of following a different path is punishment, they will simply repeat the same patterns again and again.
Experts agree that a pleasant work environment, which is open to change, stimulating and receptive, works as a driving force for creativity. On the contrary, when employees work in a context of stress, lack of motivation and dissatisfaction, it is difficult for them to keep looking for new alternatives and solutions.
It may seem a minor issue. However, the place where employees develop their activity greatly influences their creative ability. The open, bright and flexible spaces that facilitate professional interaction, the flow of ideas and concentration are stimulating and inspiring for workers. Even more when they have the resources that professionals need to boost their projects. Likewise, a change of scenario also serves as a really effective formula in the promotion of creativity. Leaders can organize from group dynamics based on brainstorming strategies to informal outdoor meetings.
For a company to be able to stimulate its employees, it first needs to get to know them well. This is the role of team leaders. Only in that way will they be able to assign the right projects to the right people. Their goal should be to lead the work of professionals towards a specific field that fits their interests, skills, experiences or abilities, thus this assignment serves as a sufficient stimulus for them. In this "culture of challenge", leaders should know how to adequately measure the magnitude of the defiance so that it is not overwhelming, discouraging or even threatening.
A creative process can be both individual and collective. However, when a project is analyzed from different perspectives, it is enriched by all of them. From an organizational point of view, leading a group of people with different ideas, experiences and approaches is more difficult, but it is also an effective formula to stimulate the flow of ideas, communication and synergy. In other words, promoting diversity is another way to boost creativity.
If this kind of ideas are not going to be taken into account, it is useless to try to stimulate them. A creative company should be willing to take certain risks and prepared to manage them effectively. In the same way, firms should get used to listening actively. The approach should be comprehensive: from newly arrived employees to well-established leaders. On the other hand, they should get used to doing it in all directions by, for example, taking into account the opinion of customers, suppliers and collaborators as well.
Leaders play a crucial role in stimulating the creativity of professionals. As a general rule, employees want their work to be valued and their achievements praised. However, oftentimes bosses pay more attention to mistakes than to successes, discouraging thus their subordinates. Leaders should not forget that recognition is a powerful motivational tool.
The CEU IAM Business School offers different postgraduate programs which are specialized in business management and administration: International Master in Management, International MBA and Executive MBA. All of them are programs which are adapted to the needs and realities of companies in the current digital and global environment. All of them share the same premise: training professionals and managers who aspire to lead their environment, leaving an ethical and lasting mark on time. Ask for further information!