- The Importance of Creativity Culture in Entrepreneurship [Book Excerpt] - February 28, 2017
In “The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions,” seasoned entrepreneur and business coach, Rhett Power, offers actionable advice for real lasting change in your life and business. The book contains daily exercises for entrepreneurs, and with a 53-week plan, he encourages entrepreneurs and leaders to take action daily, break old habits and think in new and innovative ways in order to develop a successful mindset and boost creativity.
The following excerpt is provided exclusively for StartupNation from “The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions: Essential Daily Exercises and Habits for Becoming Wealthier, Smarter and More Successful” by Rhett Power, McGraw-Hill, 2017, and discusses how to drive sustainable business growth through creativity.
Being creative is something that isn’t always associated with business, but it should be. In order to stand out as an entrepreneur and in business, you’ve got to have something that makes you or your company special. When Google implemented a flexible schedule and video games in the workplace, people thought they were nuts. However, it’s created a culture of creativity within the workplace. When you think outside of the box and are creative and innovative, you are headed toward all sorts of successful endeavors.
The Creativity Culture: Day 1
No matter how much I know, that knowledge will never be more powerful than my imagination.
Take a moment to consider that statement: Knowledge is limited and imagination is more important. This statement is counter to what most people are taught in school and the way many companies operate. “Knowledge is power” is the more common sentiment, by far.
Knowledge Is Limited and Imagination Is More Important
But the ability to imagine is innate. Kids use imagination to invent games and stories that guide their play. Even adults who claim not to be particularly imaginative can picture themselves sitting down to a favorite meal or getting a promotion. Lack of imagination isn’t the problem. The unwillingness to express what’s imagined is.
The kind of imagination that leads to innovation carries a degree of risk. This is particularly true if a business doesn’t actively support creative (aka disruptive) thinking. There is the risk of being wrong or ridiculed. There’s also the risk that no one else will listen or understand.
Try to imagine something you would like to try but the risk has stopped you. Write down what might have happened if it had worked.
I will share my love of innovation with others. In order to become successful, I need to successfully train other people to be innovative like me.
Imagination Creates Innovation
Businesses that foster true innovation have a culture that encourages imagination and free expression. According to an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, researchers studied 759 companies in 17 major markets and concluded that, “Corporate culture was a much more important driver of radical innovation than labor, capital, government or national culture.” They also identified characteristics that innovative corporate cultures share: investment in learning and creativity.
Values are reflected in how a company spends its money. Truly innovative companies invest heavily in continuous learning and activities that promote creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.
What kinds of activities can induce creativity in your office? Write down three things that you can implement.
I’m willing to try anything once. If I am passionate and consistent with my trials, I may stumble upon something wonderful!
The following ideas from the MIT Sloan Management Review article that I mentioned yesterday might surprise you:
- Behavior That Supports Innovation. Cultures that support innovation are willing to shake things up, rather than cling to the status quo.
- Challenging People to Take Risks. Innovative climates encourage independent thinking and make it safe to take risks.
- People Are the Most Important Resource. Putting people above systems and projects have a powerful, positive impact on the culture.
It can be a gamble to build your culture differently than others have done in the past, but it’s likely worth it in the long run. Choose one of these ideas and implement it today. Then write down the results.
When others doubt me, I will be a leader that defies the odds! I will help everyone around me to achieve feats that no one thought possible.
Go Crazy and Get Creative
One company that was studied in the MIT Sloan Management Review article lived by these maxims:Go Crazy and Get Creative
- Encourage wild ideas
- Defer judgment
- Build on the ideas of others
- Stay focused
Cultures that foster creativity and innovation are fluid and curious, constantly asking questions and being willing to make changes based on the answers.
Choose one wild idea that shouldn’t work and run with it. Make note as it progresses or fails, and learn from the experience.
Even when the road seems bumpy, I will not stray from the company culture that I have built and that I am passionate about.
Shaping Your Company Culture
I remember my company’s first warehouse. It was dirty, dusty, poorly lit (no windows for me to stare out of), and very poorly laid out. The only redeeming thing is we had a great landlord who gave us a break every once in a while when we couldn’t make rent. The space was awful for workflow and productivity and ultimately for our company’s culture.
We all know a vibrant company culture can result in better teamwork, motivation, and productivity. But the big questions are: Is it possible to shape and build your company culture? How do you do it? What can you do to ensure your team’s high morale and happiness?
The short answer is yes, you can change a company’s culture by doing a few things that might surprise you. In a recent short survey by a company called Turnstone, it was noted that out of 515 small business owners and managers, 90 percent of those surveyed believed that the physical environment and morale of a workplace heavily influence company culture.
Write down what you feel your company culture is really about, and then ask some employees if they agree.
I will inspire someone today.
An Inspiring Workplace Results in Inspired Work
In the same survey we talked about yesterday, 8 out of 10 people said that physical environment played a big role in company culture. The survey noted that conference rooms, kitchen space, and reception areas were just as important as the working space itself.
This makes sense, of course. Once you walk into any office, you immediately get a sense of a company’s personality. Do they care about aesthetics? Are there cubicles or is the space open? All of these things affect how company culture is perceived.
In addition, employees all have different working styles and ways of being productive. One way to create a more inspiring space for workers is to give them options for their working space. Where do they want to sit? Would they rather sit or stand? What desk arrangement inspires them to be most productive? Making them feel more comfortable by tackling these questions can inspire your workers to create their best work.
Survey some more employees today. Ask them what would make work more inspiring for them. Learn the needs of those who are supporting you.
By cooperating with those around me, I will prove my loyalty to them. That loyalty will result in happy and efficient employees.
A Workplace with Good Morale Results in Happier Employees
The Turnstone survey also notes that workers are happier when physical and emotional well-being is promoted by their employers. Forty-seven percent of respondents said that giving employees small freedoms, such as the ability to display personal items on their desks, is an example of a gesture that will make employees feel more comfortable and welcomed. Business leaders are responsible for taking the lead and shaping their company cultures around positive morale.
Once great culture is established, it is the business owner’s responsibility to continually nurture it so that it stays vibrant. What do you think the tone of your company culture is?
“The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions” is available now at fine booksellers and at StartupNation.com.