In a competitive business environment, your company needs every advantage it can get. To get that extra advantage, you need to encourage creative thinking in your employees so they can help you attract new customers, create new services, improve your supply chain, and attract new investors. However, encouraging creative thinking is not always easy. Read on to learn how to do it.
Take Risks with New Ideas
Even if your employees have some interesting new ideas, it can be difficult for them to bring the ideas to you. They may fear ridicule if the idea is too different. They could even fear punishment if the concept doesn't work out. You need to clarify that they will feel safe if they take risks bringing you new things. Seriously consider every idea they bring to you, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense upfront. Never rebuke anyone for offering a new view. Try these ideas out if they don't involve unreasonable risks. Taking some chances is unavoidable if you want creative thinking. Never punish your employees if their opinions don't pan out. By listening to your employees and trying their ideas, you show them that you value them and their ideas. They will be more creative in the future as a result.
Change Up Work Practices
You should periodically change your employees' work practices to shake their thinking up. Have them work in a different place. Form teams from employees from different divisions. Have some of your employees swap jobs so they can learn different sides of the company's process. Making these changes can help your employees see potential problems before they happen or discover new business processes.
Never Encourage Competition
Some managers operate under the mistaken belief that encouraging their employees to get competitive will bring out the best in them. This false belief is a terrible idea. It doesn't so much promote creative thinking that benefits your company as it encourages the type of creative thinking that will help them outwit each other. It encourages distrust and poor communication, while creativity requires collaboration.
Never Demand Instant Creative Thinking
Creativity does not come on demand. It requires time and the right inspiration. If you want creative thinking from your employees, then you need to give them some space. Never force your employees to brainstorm until they come up with innovative ideas. Never move them into a tight deadline when creative thinking is demanded.
Help your employees network with each other and with noncompetitive professionals in the same industry. Being in contact with many other related professionals will give them the new ideas and perspectives required for creative thinking. It can help to hold social gatherings for your employees, in which they can meet others and talk freely to them.
You cannot control creativity, but you can encourage it. Trust your employees, work with them to make sure they have everything they need, and give them some time. You'll end up with a more creative team and the kind of competitive edge that can help take your business to the top.