Encouraging Creativity

Encouraging Creativity DISCOVER WHAT HELPS--AND HINDERS-- INNOVATIVE THINKING IN YOUR STAFF. By April Durrett Do you know how to stimulate creativity in your staff? Find out which business conditions boost creativity-- and which don't. get bored. Leaders need to strike the right balance." What Managers Can Do. What are you doing to motivate your staff to be creative? How can you creatively reward them with incentives other than money? Chalene Johnson, chief executive officer of Powder Blue Productions in Laguna Hills, California, and creator of Turbo KickTM, PiYoTM and Turbo JamTM, organizes fun contests that challenge employees to think outside the box. She also serves as a role model for her staff. She devises innovative ways to reward employees for work well done. For one company Christmas party, she planned a riddle and scavenger hunt that directed staff to several different places for the celebration. C reative workers devise outstanding programs, think of new ways to attract and retain members, give your business a competitive edge, cut costs and contribute to the bottom line of your business. Do you know how to stimulate creativity in your staff? Find out which business conditions boost creativity-- and which don't. Myths About Creativity Groundbreaking research by Teresa Amabile, PhD, head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School in Boston, is an expert in business innovation and creativity. She recently studied creativity among 238 people in seven different companies without letting the people know what she was researching. Although the results are still being finalized, Amabile shared some of her findings in the article "The 6 Myths of Creativity" by Bill Breen in Fast Company magazine last December. Below are four myths Amabile debunked, plus ideas from fitness managers and owners who have their fingers on the creative pulse of their businesses. Myth #1: Only Creative People Can Be Creative "There's this common perception among managers that some people are creative, and most aren't," notes Amabile in the article. "The fact is, almost all of the research in this [creativity] field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work." What Managers Can Do. Are you encouraging everyone in your organization to be creative? "It's important to include all levels of your staff in brainstorming meetings," says Sandy Franco, owner of Franco's Athletic Club in Mandeville, Louisiana. "When you involve staff in developing ideas, you get more interesting concepts and also get their buy-in to the ideas." It's important to set a framework when encouraging people to be creative. "You need to cast a vision for staff," says Franco. "Perhaps you show some movie clips or photos that can inspire ideas. Or you show video footage from past events that featured creative ideas. Staff might not know what you've done in the past, and they could have different expectations than you about what's appropriate. It's easier for people to be creative if they have a springboard to work from rather than coming up with ideas from scratch." Maureen Hagan, vice president of operations (group exercise and specialty programs) for the GoodLife Fitness Clubs and VitaVie Clubs, based in London, Ontario, suggests giving staff assignments to encourage creativity. For example, she has asked managers to read the same book and then get together to apply the material to the business in creative ways. "One time all 16 managers read the same chapter and all got something different from it," she says. Make sure you provide your staff with tools to foster their creativity. For ideas and resources, see "Strengthening Your Creativity Muscle" in the July

IDEA Fitness Manager , Volume 17, Issue 4

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