Creative Cultures Communicate

A need that nearly every leader and organization I work with requires is developing better communication strategies. As I spend time with executives, I notice that each one has their own idea about workplace communications. Creative leaders understand that communication is the single most important aspect to innovation. Which, after all, is the only path to new products, technologies and services; you know, the stuff that attracts new and loyal, longtime customers. Another bonus, it also helps RETAIN good employees!

In his Harvard Business Review article David Burkes states that “Creative organizations have basic assumptions about creativity being a process, rather than a eureka moment, or that not all conflict needs to be resolved because sometimes it can yield more innovative thinking. They share beliefs that creativity thrives under constraints, or that the best work is done using constantly evolving teams. Sharing ideas openly, allowing for limited risk taking, and celebrating failures as learning opportunities are all basic beliefs of creative organizations”

Better communication strategies are central to more workplace creativity and engagement. This is an incredibly important topic and I’ll post again on the leader’s role in improving communications. In the meantime consider these few steps.

Know your employees

Have you ever been totally open with someone you don’t know? Of course not. It’s natural to be cautious. My suggestion is to make it a goal to really get to know who is working for you. Bonus, your employees will appreciate getting to know you better, too.

Be accessible

Everyone says their door is always open and more often than not, that is a bunch of nonsense. While the days fly by at increasingly fast pace, you are missing opportunities to talk with your employees. My suggestion is to schedule a monthly lunch with employees, join the company bowling team, do other things you have never done before. Who needs doors when you can walk and talk with your employees.

Flip the 80/20 rule:

Recently I met with a leader who told me she was spending so much time with her sales people who were not meeting quota. I asked her how much time she was spending with her top performers and she looked at me with a blank stare. One of the most common mistakes I see leaders make is spending too much time talking with the wrong people. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. CEOs are too often guilty of spending 80% or more of their time talking with the wrong people, underperforming salespeople, those who are routinely late or leaving early, etc. My recommendation is to repoint your attention to your top performers, early birds, the constantly-looking-for-opportunity people. This is how you cultivate successful communications strategies that will drive creativity and innovation.

Surround them

Do your employees have what they need? By this I mean training assistance, guidance, development, mentoring, technology and/or your support or attention. If you want to double your business, I suggest really digging into this list and making sure you have surrounded your employees with the tools they (and you) need to be successful.