In our earlier posting on Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus I talked about some experiences of play and creativity, how only about 20% of us retain that creativity, and asked how we can maintain or find it again. Today I want to focus on a few ideas for play or creativity at work and 7 benefits to leading creativity through forward focus.
A few ideas that Leo Babauta
had for bringing play into your life…
- Make a game of computer tasks — see how fast you can get your inbox to empty (set a timer)
- Give yourself points for checking off your tasks, and see how many points you can get each day
- Skip instead of walk
- Imagine you are in a movie when you walk into a meeting
- Give yourself challenges
- Make bets with friends when it comes to doing things you don’t normally like doing…More at Infusing Play into Mundane Tasks :zenhabits
What are the benefits of leading creatively through forward focus?
- Vision – the big picture becomes clear, gains more buy-in, grows with new ideas. Allowing others to let down their guard opens their mind to the wonders of the future instead of closed to the moment with no hope of a better future.
- Improved problem solving – creative thinkers see more options than reactive thinkers do. In reactive mode we see a limited set of options or worse yet only one. Creativity allows a brain-storm of ideas to flow and a mix of ideas that if used alone are not enough.
- Knowledge growth – share the creativity. Ideas and knowledge flow from different trains of thought and backgrounds. Sharing that knowledge allows others to grow, to begin to explore new ideas. You and your followers will grow.
- Mindset change – followers begin to see creativity. This can bring a more open environment. A more welcoming environment, not stuck in “this is how we do it” mode. Ideas previously shelved in the back of someone’s brain leaps to the front to improve productivity and morale. The projection of play and creativity can be contagious and create a better mindset for those around you.
- Better, more effective communication – explanation and expansion of ideas opens new pathways and allows us to see the way others communicate. If we know how different people communicate, communications can be modified to make the message more effective and easier to follow.
- Better service – from different ideas on how to best assist the client or customer. Whether it is an internal customer or an external one, if served by someone with the ability to use creative approaches to their need, they will feel better served.
- Influence – when handled as an individual with unique needs and preferences to approach, people will be more influenced. It is an opportunity to develop new relationships and further your reach with customers, coworkers or direct reports. They begin to look to you for guidance and feedback.
Bringing an element of play into your environment, your leadership. Open the doors to creativity and a future of what is possible.
We would love to hear how you are leading creatively through forward focus.
Image by eilonwy77 via Flickr
The ideas of leadership and play when combined provide an opportunity to lead creativity through forward focus. What do I mean?
Think back, way back, to when you were a kid with all the energy and imagination that went with it. Can’t think back that far, then look at the world through the eyes of a child. One that comes to mind is with my son. All of 2 years old at the time, he decided that I must lay down on the kitchen floor to watch as two ants scurried across it. My first thought – get the ant spray and squish the ants. Yet I hesitated just long enough to lay down on the floor and listen to my son explain that the ants were on a parade and all the fun places the parade would see. Such as going down a slide,stopping at the beach, and visiting a picnic or two along the way. For that short time, I watched the ants through his imagination. He saw the possibilities that lie ahead, he had forward focus. I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t lose the creativity of that moment.
After all only about 20% of us will retain creativity in our lives. Not sure where you fall? Consider this – when you think about leading your team are you seeing the cannot or the can?
If you are among the 20% that thinks creatively, you are thinking about the can and changing the cannot to can. For the other 80% the to do list is daunting list with lots of cannot. As children our creativity flowed endlessy from crazy made up creations with Legos® to acting out whole scenarios with Barbie® orG.I. Joe®. Somewhere along the way we have lost many of these needed skills. How can we maintain it or find it again?
Leo Babauta had some similar experiences to my ant parade and explores how to infuse your day with creativity (play)….
You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right?
Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.
Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.
Let’s take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. She had to go to the dentist, which is a pretty routine thing for most people. We took the train and then walked a few blocks. In the train, she sang, found things fun to see out the window, played games with me. As we walked, she talked about how the building the dentist is in might possibly reach the blue stuff in the sky, and wanted to bet me that it actually did (10 hugs if I won, $1 if she won). The elevator ride to the 18th floor was like a roller coaster ride to her.
Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that?
Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.
We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.
It is amazing to see what we can learn from the children around us. They bring creativity to everything they do – now is the time to begin leading creativity. Do you want to know the benefits of leading creativity through forward focus? Look for the 7 Benefits to Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus next week.
Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
- Stuart Brown, MD
More Mindset Reading
True Payoff From Workplace Diversity
Do You Dare Your Employees To Dream?
Team building skills for project managers are not much different than a coach leading a team of players to victory.
The workplace is fast paced and often impersonal which can cause employees to feel disconnected and overlooked. Wayne Turmel wrote this piece for CBS Moneywatch last year and I think it has some great team building skills for project managers.
Team Building Skills for Project Managers
Basically, a team gets put together, there’s some degree of dram and stress as people figure out their roles and the written (and unwritten) rules of working together and then they get on with it. The faster teams get through the storming stage, the more work gets done and more productive the team.
Good project managers, like the blogger Syed Rayhan, have a list of questions they like to ask and share the results with their peers. His list includes:
- What’s your role on the project? (If you’ve ever worked on a team and wonder why so-and-so was included, you know how important this is. It also allows managers to delegate tasks and answers more effectively.)
- What is your main expertise? ( “Oh, so Raj is a database expert? Maybe he can help me with this other problem I’m having”. This is a great way to get the team to work together and form bonds beyond the task level.
- What new capabilities are you learning on this project? This one is not only a chance for people to express gratitude about what they’re learning, but also a non-threatening way to let the team know this is their first time on a software project like this, so be gentle!
- What are your pet peeves in the workplace? If someone doesn’t like working in a certain way, it’s best you know that before you learn the hard way or just tick them off. Setting boundaries is an important part of working together.
- Tell us one thing about you that nobody knows? Obviously this should be amusing and non-incriminating.
- What’s your favorite hobby and why do you like it? It’s amazing how much easier it is to form a working relationship with someone that you share a passion with. A favorite sports team (or at least a favorite sport and a good-natured rivalry), a shared interest in bird photography, or almost anything else that helps you think of that teammate as something other than a nameless, faceless task machine.
Certainly every group of workers will respond differently to this kind of team building technique and some may feel it is unnecessary, but as the leader you can modify the questions to suit your needs and still include the whole team.