Be the creative inlet

- image for article by Greg Alder - image for article by Greg Alder

How many of your workmates have a creative outlet? Do they play bass guitar in a country band? Or bass drum in a pipe band? Are they sculptors or woodworkers? Are they Irish dancers or Swiss yodellers? Are they in an amateur theatre company? Do they make model boats? Are they gamers? Photographers? Do they recreate medieval pageants? Do they make knives? Are they glass blowers?

We have all had wow moments when we discovered the secret creative talents of people we work with.

So, here’s my question. Why does this creative energy have to be sidelined by work?

The real passion and pleasure is squeezed into a few hours clawed out of a busy weekend, whilst the bulk of our daylight time is consumed by work.

We perform our jobs efficiently, often automatically. 70% of us are disengaged on the job (Gallup). A disengaged staff member costs an employer $34,000 for every $100,000 in salary. Companies with low engagement earn 34% less operating income than companies with highly engaged staff. Clearly, disengagement hurts employers.

It hurts employees, too. Without a creative outlet at work, the need for creativity is satisfied elsewhere. It’s been proved that we are happier when we are being creative. So, playing bagpipes makes us happy. Working does not.

But what would happen if we were actively encouraged to be more creative at work?

Yes, we’d be happier. Happiness creates success, because we like the euphoria we get from creating something new or creatively solving a problem and so we actively seek to do more things that give us this same happiness.

We would also get more stuff done. This surprises some business owners who see creativity as a distraction. But research has shown that organisations that nurture creativity are more productive.

We would be great people to be around. We create an aura of happiness and this has a powerful positive influence on the mood in the office.

We won’t be lured by money alone. Money is great, but what we really want is for our ideas to be valued. Companies that encourage creativity find it easier to attract the best candidates for any job. People want to be part of this creative energy. These companies also find it easier to keep the best people. Having worked for a company with a reputation for innovation does wonders for a CV.

We can solve problems in areas that aren’t our areas of expertise. This also surprises some people who imagine that only an experienced welder can solve a tricky welding problem. Creative people can apply their problem-solving skill to absolutely anything.

We will boost the bottom line. Creativity leads to product or service innovations. Those innovations become IP. That IP gives an organisation a point of difference. Customers will pay a premium for that point of difference. (And of course, the boost in productivity noted above also has a handy impact on the bottom line.)

Few business leaders ask how they can make their organisations more creative. What they tend to ask is how they can improve productivity, staff engagement, service differentiation, market share, share price and morale.

Your best people already have creative outlets. It’s time to acknowledge the enormous benefits of turning your business into a creative inlet.

Photo by Joshua Coleman via Unsplash

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