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Stimulate Creativity and Learning

What does cultivating creativity add to the workplace and
your business? The benefits are huge but are often
underestimated by most people. Companies who wish to
progress quickly and stay ahead need to stimulate
creativity and learning among their employees. This goes
beyond just being a desirable thing to do; it's imperative
to the success of your business.

"In a two-year study for the Economic and Social Research
Council, Professor Richard Scase of Kent University
concluded that straitjacketed management attitudes were
'the major barrier to Britain becoming a high-performing
creative economy'. Corporate Britain is still in the grip
of low-trust, low-commitment, command-and-control
management styles that kill innovation and creativity, says
Scase" 'Management Today, November, 2000.

Lack of creativity costs companies their leading place in
the market. It inhibits invention and innovation, which
form the backbone of a thriving business. Companies which
fail to develop a culture of creativity will soon find
themselves left behind. People now realise that working
for a company which cultivates creativity is much more
rewarding and as employees are becoming more discerning in
their choice of employers, this may be one factor they
insist upon.

Cultivating an environment of creativity allows you to get
more out of your employees, instead of stifling their
ideas or vision for the company. Creativity encourages
them to ask questions and give feedback on how things can
be improved or changed. It develops their desire for
improvement and their risk-taking ability. It enables
employees to enjoy the process and be rewarded for their

Creativity engenders new ideas, which lead to innovation.
The critical part is to put these ideas into action.
Coaching cultivates creativity and encourages people to
act. It stretches employees to go beyond their usual way
of going things, preventing them from becoming stuck in a
rut. In today's economy it isn't enough to say you
believe in creativity; you must prove it by putting it
into practice.

Benefits for the company:
' Being at the forefront of your profession or
' New products, new services, new ways of doing
' Flexibility to change
' The conversion of new ideas into actions
' New markets and improved processes
' Retained workforce
' Effective use of all resources available

When creativity is lacking in a company, the inevitable
consequence is that employees rely on management for
continuous direction and do not benefit from a structured
system of feedback. Possibly there are no regular staff
meetings to allow for sharing of ideas, or perhaps
management don't use coaches to encourage their employees
to reach their full potential.

Companies which don't encourage creativity are often
unaware of what this is costing them. They may have no
vision, mission or purpose which are well communicated to
all their employees. Perhaps you've always operated your
company this way, so you feel there's no need to change.
However, the world economy is changing rapidly and you
need to either keep up with this or get ahead of the game.
A look at the chain of communication in a company gives a
good idea of its creativity level. A structured system of
feedback is necessary to implement ideas fully. Remember
some of the best ideas, even money-savers, originate at
the foot of the ladder.

What can companies do to cultivate creativity? A
combination of things are needed. Time and space to
develop ideas, a structure for those ideas to be acted
upon, full two-way communication throughout the company,
regular meetings, employees being heard, coaching for
individual employees, teams and management. Creativity,
like coaching, is a springboard for action and this is
where the real results lie, not just by talking.

About the Author
Wendy Hearn
Personal and Professional Coach
She works with business owners, professionals, executives and
managers who are ready to enrich their lives... finding more
success, fun, balance, joy and time. She coaches one-to-one
with individuals and groups by telephone and email.

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