• Ellen McIlhenny

Cultivate Creativity

I love the saying “Don’t think outside the box, think like there is no box”.

For most entrepreneurs, personal creativity is probably not in short supply. However, creativity is not always encouraged among the staff in a small business. That means the owner is left to come up with all the new ideas on his own. It’s through creativity that the differentiating aspects of your business are born. Also, problems are solved much more quickly when the creative juices are flowing; thus increasing productivity. It’s definitely to your advantage to always entertain new ideas no matter what they are or who brings them to you. That’s not to say that you must act on every suggestion, but you may find some really good ideas in the most unassuming places.

Probably the most stimulating environment I’ve ever worked in was the five years I was the business manager at a television station in Charleston, South Carolina. The general manager was completely sold on the idea that many heads are better than one. Every

aspect of running that business was truly collaborative. In our weekly meetings the ideas flowed. Every suggestion was discussed and voted on, and we all respected the views of each other. My boss loved telling the story of their most popular advertising campaign. It had been launched a few years before I arrived. The whole idea had been devised by the previous business manager. My boss would always end the story by looking straight at me and saying “Imagine that, an accountant with a creative idea”.

Oftentimes egos and insecurities get in the way of collaboration and transparency. If you can learn to leave all of that at the door; great things can happen.


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