I saw the greatest quote the other day. “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 by 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 much more quickly solved when the creative juices are flowing; thus, increasing productivity. It is 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 spent as the business manager at a television station in Charleston, South Carolina. The general manager believed that many heads are better than one. The operation of every aspect of that business was truly collaborative. In our weekly meetings, the ideas flowed. We discussed and voted on every suggestion and we respected each other’s views. My boss loved telling the story of their most popular advertising campaign ever. It had been launched a few years before I came on board. 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.” Since then, I have yearned for another working environment like that. One that would take us all beyond our boundaries. Though I have worked in other environments that professed to be creatively inclusive, normally we others sat in our comfort zone silos. Our potentially brilliant ideas rotted like grain while creativity was relegated to a few.