Through the Corporate Creative Barrier
By Judy Carter
your boss asks you to make a report more creative, do you panic?
When you ask your staff to come up with innovative solutions,
do they just give you the same old, same old? Do
you wonder why your assistant canâ€™t seem to make up a more creative
excuse as to why you didnâ€™t make it to a meeting?
you are wondering where all the new ideas have gone, youâ€™re not
alone. Many workplaces are a dry well when it comes to inspiring
creativity. Companies may
claim that they promote creativity and want their employees to
“think outside the box,” but most corporate cultures crush
originality. They want
their staff to obey procedures, conform to the dress code and stay as
late as it takes to get two peopleâ€™s work done and then wonder why
their employees arenâ€™t budding Warren Buffets or Steven Spielbergs.
America desperately needs imaginative ideas in all aspects of business
to create the original new products and services that make consumers
(and keep the shareholders) happy.
Novel approaches in customer service can turn an irate customer
into a loyal one. Inventive
ways to do something as simple as answering the phone can turn a
first-time caller into a long-term client.
A laugh-out-loud presentation can turn a lackluster sales team
into a fired up sales force.
more often than not, most workers leave their creative thinking behind
as soon as they close their front door.
The majority of people simply donâ€™t have the time to even
consider developing an “artsy self,” with all their looming
deadlines, bursting in-boxes, and unanswered emails to deal with.
For most of these harried souls, putting a “smiley” at the
end of a text message is the closest they can come to creative.
Now, thatâ€™s original!
if you are wondering why you canâ€™t “think outside of the box,”
itâ€™s probably because your boss has you sealed inside of it.
The question is: How
do you break out of that box…without losing your job?
most people, there is a bridge that needs to be built from the
business mind to the creative mind.
Here are five tips that can assist anyone in getting, and
keeping, the creativity flowing:
Arrange at least 30 minutes of quiet time a day: Your creative
mind has probably been telling you some great ideas, but you canâ€™t
hear them through the cacophony of noise that surrounds you:
demanding boss, screaming kids, and the blare of TV, iPods, and
cell phones. With so
much information constantly flowing in, itâ€™s no wonder people have a
hard time getting their ideas out.
With all these elements demanding a piece of our “brain real
estate,” it is up to us to find the time and place where we can shut
out all noise and get in touch with whatâ€™s going on within us.
The seed of an idea needs a quiet place to germinate and grow,
to be fertilized by all new the information youâ€™re receiving.
Take a 30-minute walk alone, without your iPod, without your
Treo, just by yourself.
Donâ€™t sit down - get physical: Your boss wants you to write a
presentation. You sit down
to write it and type gobbly-gook into your laptop.
Where do you find the quick turns of phrases that will wow your
audience? How do you come
up with the new ideas that will astonish a client?
Do what the pros do - throw a ball.
Sitting down in front of a computer can really stifle
creativity. Studies have
found that repetitive motion helps access the creative mind.
Singer-songwriter Paul Simon writes lyrics by throwing a ball
against a wall and talking out loud.
If you feel weird talking out loud while playing with your
yo-yo or taking a walk, put on your cell phone headset, so your family
wonâ€™t think youâ€™ve gone bonkers.
Capture Your Ideas When They Happen: Write down your ideas when
they happen. Donâ€™t tell
yourself that youâ€™ll remember that fabulous idea you came up with on
your way to the bathroom - you wonâ€™t.
So many of the students in my comedy workshops watch sitcoms
and say “I had that idea for a sitcom!”
Yeah, but the guy earning the big bucks is the one who wrote it
down. If you donâ€™t like
writing, carry a digital recorder with you.
I remember having dinner one night with the late, great comedy
genius, Steve Allen. Throughout
dinner he got out his cassette recorder at least eight times to
capture an idea.
Reality Check Your Ideas: Just because you think your ideas are
stupid, doesnâ€™t mean that they are.
If you are normal you probably have a critic meaner than
American Idolâ€™s Simon Cowell in your head denigrating your ideas.
“You call this an idea? Idiot!”
Critic attacks kill creativity.
We might all still be sitting in the dark if Ben Franklin had
thought, “You fool, grown man donâ€™t play with kites.”
Your critic wants to keep you safe by protecting you from the
unknown. Creativity takes you to uncharted waters.
So of course it gets scary.
“Alert, alert, new idea coming in.
Prepare to shoot it down.”
Recognize your critic for what it is, thank it for sharing and
then move on.
a seemingly stupid idea can lead to a brilliant innovation. Before
disregarding an idea, get a reality check by sharing it with a
Schedule creativity into your day: We all make time for paying our
bills, doing errands, even for watching “Desperate Housewives,”
but how about scheduling creative sessions into your day?
If you are a manager, schedule weekly brainstorming meetings.
Schedule your own personal creative sessions into your Palm
Pilot. Studies show that
early morning is the best time for creativity because you are still on
the edges of your unconscious mind.
Keep a pad of paper by your bed and write for fifteen minutes
before you get out of bed. Try
this for a week. Donâ€™t
worry about spelling, or grammar.
If you are really stuck, try writing with your other hand.
Pay attention to your morning thoughts and you just might find
that hysterical opening for a speech, a novel solution to a problem,
or a new idea for a movie.
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