Do Your Employees Enjoy Facebook More Than Their Job?

Mar 7, 2010, Written by Sue Miley

creativity.com_479f886238782I realize I am old, but I still hang out with younger people.  In the old days, about ten years ago, it seemed like people spent more time and energy being creative.  I remember sitting around with a few people coming up with names for businesses that didn’t even exist.  We would come up with what we felt was an incredibly inspiring and imaginative name and then try to figure out what business would go with it.  Even the practical jokes people used to play on each other were awe inspiring.  One friend convinced another coworker that there were cameras in the office and that the company was spying on them.  She got other corporate employees involved in the prank and had them call the “victim”, I mean coworker, and ask her about things that could only be known if there were cameras.  The coworker started locking everything up and talking in code.  It was hilarious.   If someone had a problem, the group would sit around coming up with a 100 different ideas to solve it.  Some serious, some proposterous, all in love.

Where is the Creativity?

Now conversations are surface – what you see is what you get.  Business problems get about 5-10 minutes of discussion which usually limits you to solving them based on what has been tried in the past because amazing innovation doesn’t usually come about in ten minute conversations.  I know we are busy.  I know we want to be efficient.  But do we have to be limited!

Lack of creativity:

  1. Limits the growth and development of our business as we are less able to solve problems, create opportunities, and/or improve methods.
  2. Limits the development of our team.  We are not teaching employees to innovate, overcome, and drive the business.
  3. Reduces the passion and commitment towards a vision or mission.  “Yay we are going out to sell more today.  NOT”
  4. Stifles job satisfaction and causes your team, and maybe yourself, to wonder what is going on in the Facebook world right now.

Do You Foster a Creative Culture?

Do you foster creativity in your business?  Do you stop long enough to ask employees their ideas; to brainstorm with them?  Is your expectation that they will find ways to overcome roadblocks, that they will develop plans and ideas for their area of the business, that they will care so much about your company’s mission that they will bring you suggestions and opinions?

If not, why not?  If your employees sit around waiting for you to tell them what to do and never offer suggestions, it is probably because the culture of your business does not promote creativity.  I know it is hard to judge what is a creative endeavor versus wasted time, but the thing about creativity is that it isn’t measured by output per minute. Sometimes we have to suffer with unproductive moments to get a home run idea.  But I would contend that if you build a culture that inspires creativity, rewards innovative thinking and fosters collaboration and team spirit, then you will have a motivated team that will go the extra mile.  They will leap tall buildings  to achieve the day to day results while knocking down roadblocks, finding cost savings, developing new products, and slaying dragons.

Creativity Fosters Success

Creativity is a culture.  Creativity promotes loyalty.  People learn more.  They help each other.  They have fun.  That’s right, they have fun at work.  People having fun at work usually work harder. They usually stay at work longer.  They generally have a much more significant impact on their role and the business overall.  If you have doubts, what are they?  If you have a creative culture, please share the results you are having with us!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jimbo says

    I know I want creativity in our work culture. I work for a large corporation and one of my self imposed barriers to nuturing a creative culture in our local team is fear that I can’t implement their creative ideas. How do you think we can invite creative ideas and guard against never using any of them?

    • S_Miley says

      I had this issue when I was managing the coffee house division of Community Coffee (CC’s). We had a large staff of young, enthusiastic and creative people. They had so many ideas that there were not enough hours in the day to implement them all, even if they were good, which a high number of them were impractical, expensive, or off strategy. After hearing through the grapevine of a few hurt feelings, and a few more who felt insulted, I decided that we needed to address the situation. I held a meetings where I invited employees to come bring any and all ideas. Before we opened up the floor for idea generation we told the staff up front that we wanted ideas, and that we would write them all down, but that it wasn’t feasible to implement all of them at once. We also told them that some wouldn’t work for the business for one reason or another. (We actually took them through several of the reasons an idea may not be implemented.) What we did promise is that we would begin to implement the suggestions that we could and we would let them know. I don’t know if this totally solved the problem, but it eliminated most of the complaining and noise. Employees were really excited if their idea was implemented. By publicizing the ones we did move forward with I think the team overall saw that we did listen. And we gave credit! Maybe you could try this.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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