INSTANT MBA: 5 Ways to Boost Team Creativity

mark millerMiller has worked for Chick-fil-A since 1977.

Photo: jacklannom

Today’s advice comes from Mark Miller, author of the book “The Secret of Teams” and vice president of training and development for Chick-fil-A, via“[C]reating new, value-added ideas is what teams do best. However, creativity in a team environment is not automatic. There are some things that leaders can do to increase the creative output of their team.”

Tip #1: Expect it 

“When you establish the role of your team, be sure to highlight the expectation that the team will create fresh, new solutions to the problems you face.”

Tip #2: Train it

“The skills of creativity can be learned. To learn them, they must be taught. Schedule time to conduct training for your team. This can take many forms. It can be as brief as a micro session on effective brainstorming (before your next brainstorming session) to multi-day training sessions and everything in between. The point is simple — train your team on the skills of creativity.”

Tip #3: Practice it 

“Creative thinking and problem solving are skills — just like golf, tennis or a foreign language. Like any skill, you get better with practice. Look for opportunities for your team to practice the skills you’ve learned. Practice builds competence and competence builds confidence.”

Tip #4: recognise it 

“The actions that you reward will be repeated. That’s human nature. That’s one reason you need to recognise not just the successes but the effort as well. Not every creative endeavour will be successful. That’s normal. If you’ve been operating in a culture in which creativity has not been valued, recognising creative effort will be even more critical. People are paying attention. They want to know if it’s really safe to voice new ideas.”

Tip #5: Model it 

“People always watch the leader — whether we want them to or not. Do your people see you embracing creative ideas? Do they see you engaged in the process of creating new ideas? You can accelerate the adoption of creative thinking as a skill if you personally get in the game. If you don’t, you’ll need to temper your expectations of groundbreaking new ideas from your team.”

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