In the business world, a company exists to do one thing – solve problems. How well, how large and many varieties of problems a company can solve ultimately determines the company’s long-term viability and success. Creativity is what’s used to solve the most challenging problems. Therefore it is essential to business success.
“The hallmark of any exceptional career is the ability to devise innovative solutions for work challenges. Creative thinking skills are vital for your professional advancement.“?
– Brian Tracy | Creativity and Problem Solving
Let’s focus on two ways creativity is applied in business: Problem Solving & Leadership.
Creativity in Problem-Solving
Thankfully, many of the problems a company faces are standard (80-90%). They fall comfortably within existing processes and procedures. For the rest, non-standard (10-20%), they require creativity as the solution isn’t contained in existing FAQs or SOPs.
The closer the problem can be solved to the customer is not only more efficient, but it leads to high customer satisfaction. This usually doesn’t mean just trying the first thing that comes to mind.
To apply creativity to problem-solving try some of these techniques:
- Collaborate: Like examining all sides of a Rubix Cubes, gathering insight from multiple departments allows you to gain needed perspective.
- Reframe: Often times what is requested isn’t the true need. Asking the right questions allows you to unlock latent needs that allow you to truly delight.
- Analogize: Very seldom is any problem truly unique. Look to other industries for similar problems. Their solutions can spark insight for your challenge.
- Hybridize: Endeavor to go beyond just generating lots of ideas and be willing to combine the best of the best when possible.
Creativity in Leadership
Leadership is the ability to harness the collective problem-solving capabilities (creativity) of a team and focus the resulting energy on the achievement of a goal.
Simply telling your employee what to do requires no creativity. This doesn’t allow the employee to use creativity on the problem. Creativity helps the leader choose the right questions to ask. Thus helping their team come up with new insights on their own.
At the end of the day, a business boils down to being a series of seemingly never-ending problems. Employees don’t make their mark by solving standard problems. Rather they make it based on how they apply their creativity to non-standard problems. By honing your creativity you can have profound effects on your ability to solve big problems and scale your impact. By unleashing your creative forces in this way your problems won’t stand a chance.
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