The new “Information Age” has made it easier to find jobs that pay for creativity. Changes in the workforce reward those who are talented, educated, and can create intellectual products. But this can be both a blessing and a curse. Creative works becomes less appealing when it’s required as part of your job performance.
Professionals practice a number of techniques to help them produce creative work:
- Get a rough draft going. Sit down with a pen and paper (or at your computer), and piece ideas together. Create a draft that becomes the starting point that you can work with later. Even if you don’t feel creative, get to work. In the process, you may get hooked on one element of your draft and can begin the real work right away. If it doesn’t happen, though, don’t worry. You can go back to your draft any time.
- Remember, it’s ok to admire. As a creative professionals I will tell you that it is ok to get ideas from other people. It’s okay to say the same thing in your own unique way. I call this “Reverse Engineering” There’s no shame in using inspiration from someone if it’s proven to work. Pick and choose elements from different people’s work, and combine them in your own way to make the project “your style.” Emerson said “imitation is suicide” so just don’t blatantly copy someone else’s work.
- Break your routine. For some people, the morning or work routine is semi-sacred. They won’t have breakfast before coffee no matter the circumstances, because the routine forbids it. But often most creative people don’t have any routine at all. They say a routine limits them from finding creative inspiration whenever, and wherever, it may be. Tomorrow, change things up a bit.
- Take your project outside the office. If your cubicle feels like an isolated trap, get out of it immediately and work somewhere else. Trade for someone else’s office, go to a nearby cafe, or take your work outside and into the sunshine. Explain to your boss that you just need the change of scenery, and if he or she says no, work on your project outside office hours. Spend ten minutes at home making your rough draft, and then bring it into the office the next day.
Sometimes we’re just not feeling it, and that’s okay. Even the most talented creative professionals have to work at their skills, and experience the days when nothing clicks. The difference between them and the others is they know how to channel their creative inspiration, because “fake it till you make it” will only get you so far.
Do you have a special practice or strange ritual you do to get in the creative state of mind? Share it in the comments, you may be able to help us out too!
We all have to work at communication skills, whether it’s at work or in our personal lives. But if you’re in an executive or management position, you will be expected to clearly communicate with all your employees. Unclear communication can frustrate and derail your employees from completing their tasks effectively. You can improve your employee relations across the company by implementing these practices into your daily communications:
Use as many channels as you need to reach all employees. Some people check their emails religiously. Others prefer a face-to-face interactions before they communicate digitally. Relay important messages through a combination of communication methods, including face-to-face, email, text, and message boards. And if someone has questions, make sure you answer in a way that is most appropriate for the situation.
Write clearly and concisely. In written communication, using technical jargon or long letters/emails can deter from your message, making the content unclear to your reader. Use short sentences, with a style that is easy to understand quickly. If you’re sending an email, your employees will likely skim over it, only reading the highlighted sections. Clear and direct written communication reduces the need for follow up.
Keep records of your communications. It’s best practice to send important information via email, letter, or if necessary by recording your conversations. That way, if there is ever a discrepancy you can refer to the original document for clarification. Companies practice this when they record customer calls for quality assurance. You should do the same with your employees so any miscommunication can be solved promptly.
Communicate in advance. There are few things that employees hate more than feeling rushed or pressured. If you wait until the last minute to communicate, you should expect disgruntled employees and mediocre work. And if you communicate last minute, take responsibility if the results are not what you wanted.
Invite questions/feedback. If you announce an important company decision, make sure your employees know who they can contact for further questions. Communications regarding certain issues should come from different departments, and the head of that department should initiate the message and respond to all questions or suggestions. It makes employees feel much better if the end of an important email is signed with a contact name, rather that sent by a “no-reply” email.
Address problems before or as they arise. If you’re faced with a difficult company decision, or are aware of a potential problem for your employees, address these before they become significant issues. Employees want to be prepared for changes in their work life. If you communicate problems as they occur, and not after they have caused damage to the company, then your employees will feel a greater trust for those making the decisions that affect their jobs.
At the very least, remember to always be honest with your employees. Even if news is bad, they deserve to know what is going on at all levels of your organization. To receive trust you must give it, so always remember to trust your employees and be truthful when communicating them. If you follow these best practices, then you should minimize communication problems and build a better culture within your business.