We often view creativity as a talent we are born with rather than a skill that can be developed. The truth is, if the conditions are right, anyone can boost their creative thinking. Here are four ways you can get your team thinking more creatively, from a recent article from the Harvard Business Review.
Prioritize Deliberate Practice
In order find creative solutions to problems, you need to have experts on your team. Expertise is not something that comes easily. You need to allow time for employees to devote practice to a particular skill in order to become better. This goes far beyond a one-time training course. Help employees identify the skills they need to improve and then provide on-going coaching and hold employees accountable to time spent practicing in your one-on-one meetings. When you make these types of coaching conversations a part of your regular routine, employees learn quickly how important practice and improving skills are to you and the organization.
Encourage employees to think outside the box and create a safe space for that to occur. Support the advancement of skills that may not directly relate to an employee’s specific job position. Find out what an employee is passionate about (again, use those one-on-one meetings to your advantage) and look for ways that you can support that. This will be a win-win for the employee and the organization. The employee gets to work on things they are passionate about and the organization benefits from new perspectives and enhanced creativity,
Getting perspectives from different minds is important. A team of researchers found that the most highly cited research papers were created by a team of experts working with an outside specialist from a different field. That unique combination of expertise and collaboration seems to be the secret sauce when it comes to finding creative solutions. Find ways to allow your team to collaborate between departments, encouraging outside perspectives.
A creative solution is not likely to come from one moment of brilliance. Instead, teams need to test ideas and make modifications until they find what works best. Reward employees who stick with a problem and try different solutions. Creativity is a process and organizations need to support that process if they want their employees to be able to find the best solution.
If you want your organization to stand out, you need employees who look for new, better solutions to your organizational challenges. Following these four steps will help your organization better support the creativity of your team.