Most of us live in the world of “how”. We dwell on solutions to problems, we argue about which of two or three ways to proceed or positions to support. We are bombarded with “sound bites” which polarize us into selecting one of two opposing opinions and deepening our belief in one or the other. We get frustrated and see ourselves worlds apart. However, we may be a lot closer than we think. We just haven’t paid enough attention to why we are trying to do it instead of how we are going to do it.
It all goes back to the definition of creativity – we are very firm on not having any definition of creativity. If you ask fifteen different people what animal do they think best illustrates creativity, you’re going to get 15 different answers. Playing this up further, someone likes peacocks because it has got a lot of color – someone else likes raccoons because they can solve problems. There are some people that say, well, there are people who can get things done quickly. We stay away from that. What we do is we try to educate people, that the creative process is everything and if you’re not going through the creative process, people have different skills in all of them.
Instead of running more and more employee engagement surveys, why not just start involving employees in problem solving? People like solving problems. If you are a leader, why not coach your employees to work together to solve work problems that are important to them. Don’t solve the problems for them. Help them use their own creativity. Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.
Before you can solve a problem, you have to understand it… And you can’t understand it if you are not sure what the words mean. When we are kids, we think simple and we talk simple. As we grow older, we start learning bigger and bigger words. Some of us are reluctant to ask for clarification for fear of appearing ignorant or unprepared. And sometimes we hide behind complicated language which disguises what we really mean.