A healthy culture is a vital piece of any functioning organization. Culture is what keeps employees engaged and companies moving towards their goals, and in a climate where just 32% of employees would say they are “engaged at work,” it is more important than ever to create a healthy culture.
At Ethos3, we come across companies of all shapes and sizes and have worked across the spectrum when it comes to company culture. But there is one unique trait we have seen in the most successful companies: Creativity. These companies have created a culture of creativity that allows their employees to stay excited and engaged with their work and their presentations.
Let’s face it – if you have a team of 20 sales staff who give the same presentation over and over for weeks or even months on end, chances are disengagement will begin to happen quickly. But if you have created a culture that embraces creativity – not just with your team’s presentations, but in their office and personal lives as well – you will find yourself with an excited team who can’t wait to give their next presentation and help your company succeed.
But how do you create this type of culture?
To start, you must understand that culture is caught, not taught! If you have not embraced creativity in your communication, presentations, and personal life, your team’s culture will reflect that. As a leader, it is your job to set the tone. We recommend that you start building a creative culture within yourself before you ever try to roll it out to your team. Find daily ways for you to express your creativity in all areas of your life. Add in a new story to your latest presentation or take a few minutes to journal before heading to the office. Whatever way you express creativity, start by doing that daily.
Once you have embraced a culture of creativity for yourself, bring it to your team.
Give them permission to be creative.
You would be surprised at how much creativity is in your team but never expressed because of a lack of permission. Give your team the permission to get creative with the presentations they deliver, the proposals they create, and the structures they design.
This style of leadership does require more interaction on your part as you must keep an eye on what’s happening and if the creativity is moving outside of the parameters you have set. It can be scary to hand over the reigns and allow your team the freedom to dream, but if you do, the return on investment will be worth it.
Allow for personal creativity.
We recently worked with an organization that gave each of its employees a set budget to do “anything they like.” Some took cooking classes, others invested in their health, others used it to further their education. The only requirement for this budget was that it was something they enjoyed. What this organization discovered was that an employee who was finding joy outside of their organization would be more productive inside the organization, and that was absolutely worth investing in.
If you are looking to create a culture of creativity, you must be willing to invest in that creativity outside of your direct scope. This may mean allocating budget for that or allowing for paid time off to express their creativity. While it may feel like you are investing in something other than your bottom line, the reality is you are doing just that – as your employees express themselves outside of your company, they will come back ready and engaged to express it within your organization.
Create a safe space.
The quickest way to kill creativity is negativity and pessimism. The minute someone shoots down an idea without time to brainstorm and discuss, the creativity will be stifled out of the room. It doesn’t matter how bad an idea seemingly is – within a space of creativity and brainstorming, there are no bad ideas, and as a leader, it’s your job to create a culture of safety. Allowing your team to brainstorm freely shows them that their ideas matter and it is worth their time to think about them.
We recommend creating a weekly rhythm of brainstorm within your team. Even if you don’t have any specific needs or ideas to discuss, create a space where your team can dream for the future, improve a process, presentation, or project, and just connect and experience the creativity of that space.
Creativity is a powerful tool for any team. As a thought leader and communicator, it is the backbone of what you seek to do as you inspire your audience to change. That’s why it must be the backbone of your team, inspiring them to bring their best selves to the table and show the creativity that they have. Sometimes the best ideas only come after 50 bad ones!
At Ethos3, we love helping communicators embrace creativity and expand their ideas. Contact us today to find out how we can help you take your team and next presentation to the next level!
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