Cultivate Creativity

I have often been told that I have a creative mind.  Sometimes it was not in a complimentary way.  I like to learn.  I like to be challenged.  I like to play with technology.  I like to take ideas and make them easy to understand.  I think that’s has hints of creativity.

Working for years in non-profits, as well as the private sector, creative contributors can “make you or break you.”  I have found that the key is how you work with them and how you give them the freedom to do what they do best . . . create.  Perhaps you have creative people working with you . . . or you may have some on your management team.

Here are some thoughts on how to empower creatives:

  1. Focus on the mission, not the method. Too many times we try to not only share the “why”, but also the “how”.  How we get there doesn’t really matter . . . the fact that we get there does.
  2. If you want them to attend the party, you have to ask them to come.“Creatives” have so much going on in their head and heart, that often times they are their own party.  If you want them to come to yours . . . and to contribute . . . you need to ask them.
  3. Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and . . . you know.  When you ask creative people a question, you will receive an answer.  When you seek them out, they will come.  If you don’t want them to open the door, don’t knock!
  4. Learn to appreciate the “ying” and “yang”. Ying and Yang are the Chinese icons promoting harmony between the body and soul.  It illustrates the continual movement of two energies.  Creatives may live in “chaos”, but they need to work in “calm”.   Find the harmony.  Create the adventure.
  5. Iron really does sharpen iron. This is a primary illustration.  Too often we try to use “wood” to sharpen iron . . . or even “gold” to sharpen iron.  Only one thing sharpens iron . . . iron.  So provide creative people with more creative people with which to sharpen.
  6. Check the speed limit. Some creative people work best when the speed is fast and furious.  Some need things to slow down to a very reflective pace.  Find out if you have a sprinter or a marathon runner . . . and set the course accordingly.  The sprinter will die a slow death on the marathon course . . . and the marathon runner will never kick it into second gear.
  7. They will bond with what they birth. Idea or concepts from creatives originate from their souls.  If you don’t like it, make sure you don’t wound the soul.
  8. Money talks . . . maybe not as loud as other things . . . but it still talks.It’s important to identify someone’s motivational language – gifts, acts of kindness, words of encouragement, quality time – but, let’s face it.  We are all adults with families and responsibility.  At the end of the day, money motivates . . . so pay them well.
  9. New is good . . . but “noo” is even better. An innovative approach always brings energy to an idea, concept or model.  But, a fresh, creative idea (something brand noo) creates new life.
  10. Take time to smell the roses. Too many times we “bring closure” to a project with evaluation and analysis.  Find time to celebrate, soak in the success, and smell the roses.  Creatives will always look forward to the “party”!

We all have a creative streak within.  Yours may be the alarm that gets you up in the morning . . .  but with others, it’s the faint tail on a burning comet.

If you lead creative people, learn to appreciate their incredible giftedness and celebrate their contribution.

When we reach those pearly gates, the streets of gold and see Him as the bright and morning star . . . we will really enjoy His creativity.

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