Monday, February 27, 2012

Creating a Creative Culture

Creating a Creative Culture

Leadership – Creating a Culture That Makes People Want to Work
Is it the responsibility of leaders to create a positive culture?

The short answer is “yes.”  

Why Leaders Should Care About Affect and CultureA lot of research has been done on how to increase productivity – doing repetitive work quicker, faster and cheaper.  We have all seen these studies, with their time-tested measurements of day-to-day “grind-it-out” work.

However, in these days of furious flux, creativity – finding new and different products and ways to do things -- is generally considered one of the most critical attributes of a successful organization’s work environment.

Researchers from some of the most respected universities in the country – Harvard, Wharton, NYU and Cal/Berkley -- published a paper titled “Affect and Creativity at Work”. (“Affect” is defined as the experience of feeling or emotion, and is related to culture in this study.) 

The scientists reference the studies on tasks -- but then say “Relatively less attention has been paid, however, to organizational creativity as an outcome influenced by affect.” They then go through 32 pages of “researchese” and 4 pages of footnotes to make three critical points in regard to work culture.

An open and positive work culture produces greatly enhanced teamwork and creativity.

The Lessons:
1. Creativity is the heart and soul of teamwork
Effective teamwork is essential to both productive creativity and to the overall success of any business.

The positive effects of productive teamwork can energize an entire organization, while the negative effects of a lack of teamwork can cripple it.

An essential ingredient toeffective teamwork is attracting and keeping the right team members. No matter how hard a group of people try to work together and create an effective team, without the right people for the job, the team will inevitably fail.
In order to recruit and retain long-term, effective team members that will provide creative excellence, the corporate culture of your organization must be positive, open and invigorating. Potential team members will thrive in a challenging and creative work.

2. Positive corporate culture comes from the top down
Management is largely responsible for the type of culture that an organization develops. As a manager, you can help foster a good climate in several ways.
  1. A great leader always makes their expectations of team members clear.
  2. When delegating, always empower each team member with the authority to make and carry out decisions that are required.
  3. Always support and back up the decisions made by the team member. If you disagree with their decision, instead of chastising or reprimanding, coach the employee and help them to understand your reasoning.
You have to provide FEEDBACK (in a positive way)

The Lesson:
Recognition is critical to a positive/creative climate
Team members will search out recognition for their creative solutions from their leader.

It’s a lot like raising children – if you don’t regularly give positive recognition for accomplishments, employees will eventually resort to seeking out negative recognition.

Without feedback, your team members are unable to measure their results. A lack of feedback creates confusion, missed expectations and disappointment. 

Consistency is critical – both in attitude AND in providing new challenges

The Lessons:
1. Provide new challenges
Although an employee may be an outstanding member of a team, you must not overlook the fact that he or she is an individual.

In order to keep the most effective team members, you must provide new opportunities and challenges. The alternative is boredom and eventual mediocrity of your team members.

2. Creativity and continuing effectiveness aren’t “automatic
Don't get fooled into thinking that simply putting a group of individuals together, giving them an assignment and setting them out to accomplish the task will create a high-performing team.
You need to develop the team through some type of team dynamics exercise.

They should learn to work with each other's different personalities instead of everyone conforming to yours.

They need a structure to work through various changes and trials. And, finally, they need to develop a sense of community.

Get 2012 ROLLING by leveraging the LMI process to drive an organizational culture shift.

Call or email today to discover how.

AnchorHelping Columbus LEAD for over 40 years.
Michael D. Diercks