I work with a lot of employers on a consultancy and also a research basis, looking and working on ‘gaps’ that affect organisational productivity and hence growth.
One of the main things that employers in the UK are screaming out for is ‘new thinking’. Suggestions for new and improved ways of doing things; suggestions of new and improved product and service offerings; suggestions for new ways to reach their target audiences.
Now it’s very easy to assume that as the boss, they should know these things. But as you know, we all have strengths in certain areas and in other areas we rely on the team we build around us to fill the gaps. The problem for many employers is that the team they have around them are often so focussed on doing what they are told and in the way that they are told that very rarely do new ideas come to the fore. However, there is always an exception to the rule. A person who does take the time to consider how they could help improve things and who is willing to raise their head above the parapet with a thought through recommendation or suggestion. And these are the people who rise through the ranks. These are the people who get noticed. These are the people who succeed.
And, before you say it – anyone can be creative. Whilst many of us think of creativity has having the ability to paint or play music, dance or design objects, creativity is simply looking at a form (and this could be a problem) and imagining it differently. Playing with its constructs and supposing different outcomes.
This is exciting news for anyone who wants to be a valuable asset to their employer. Why? Because actually its relatively easy to bring something new to the party. You just have to try new experiences; try and see things from different angles; meet different people and be interested in how others think and do things. And this means introducing new elements to your week and shaking them up regularly.
You don’t have to live in a big city or have access to thousands in the bank to do this either. But how about this for a suggestion. What if, every week (it could be at the weekend when the time is your own), you commit to doing 1 thing that you don’t usually do and try different things each week so that your experiences are really broad.
- It could be reading a newspaper that goes completely against your usual persuasion – and reading it from cover to cover without attaching judgement – just understanding others’ views
- It could be following someone on Social Media (just for a short while) that is a polarising character that you wouldn’t usually associate with or perhaps a politician from your opposing political persuasion – and just try and read their tweets and the responses that follow without attaching judgement
- It could be watching a different movie genre
- Attending a night class or social event that you would never normally dream of and completely throwing yourself into it
- Or perhaps you could take a bus and get off at a stop you’ve never been to in your life and explore the neighbourhood (safety first – please take someone with you and research first any unsafe areas)
- Help out at a homeless charity or similar for a couple of weeks or perhaps just stop and talk to someone on the street – get to see them as a human
- Attend a networking event solely with the intention of finding out about others, what they do and how they do it
- Jump on a YouTube TEDX on a subject you know nothing about – there are some great ones on creativity at work – check this out for example : https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tina+seelig+ted+talk+creativity
- Simply daydream (yes you heard it right – those teachers who told us off for daydreaming – had it wrong. Day dreaming is an extremely useful activity!)
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative or ideas person, ALL of these things, mixed up, played with and embraced on a regular basis will help you to start to see things differently. You will start to create new connections with what you are already doing, and new ideas will come to the fore which, when applied to ‘problems’ in your workplace will help you find transformational solutions that will boost your work environment and help you shine in your career.
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