business-tip-no-4Your people are your greatest assets and their creative power drives your success.

But company culture can seriously affect creativity. As a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to understand the best ways to encourage free-flowing ideas within the structure of your business.

This understanding needs to start before you make your first hire. Forcing creativity rarely works. It not only stresses you out, but it’s highly likely that you won’t create anything useful – trust me on this one – creativity requires time and space to happen.

Understand what creativity is from your business’ standpoint and then identify people who have the characteristics to be creative in that system. Incorporate that discovery into you hiring process, by searching for candidates that are open to thinking about things differently. Once you start hiring, create an environment that constantly promotes the creative process. Seek out ideas and discuss them often.

By bringing people and ideas to the table, and encouraging open discussion, you’re creating and environment that’s designed for collaboration. That employee interaction will spawn good creativity and great ideas.

But don’t just celebrate success and punish failure.

This approach is unlikely to see new ideas come from employees. Channeling creativity into useful outcomes is about seeing what happens, knowing what’s possible, learning from that process, and pushing a little beyond it every time.

Finally, diversity is the key to creativity. Age, race, and background don’t necessarily affect your employees’ potential for creativity. They do, however, impact the way a person approaches the creative process. By coming at issues very differently you’ll walk away with a greater potential for success.

Promoting creativity in the workplace (In a nutshell):

  • Foster an environment where diversity and creativity are valued.
  • Give employees the tools, techniques, and time to come up with new ideas.
  • Make sure employees understand your goals, products and services.
  • Bring people together; conversation creates problem-solving and even greater ideas.
  • Recognize, reward and celebrate great ideas (and learn from your failures!).