Creativity is in short supply — especially in the AV business.
We engineer, work systems, and follow protocol. And in the midst of that, it’s really hard to be creative.
In fact, that’s why a lot of AV companies bring me in for a consultation — they need a creative perspective. People ask me to help them work through their challenges, review their proposals, and weigh in on their opportunities because I bring a lot of creative ideas.
What’s the secret to my creativity?
It’s not that I’m an inherently creative person, but apparently I’m a lot more creative than some of my clients. I’m also coming from a better vantage point. I’m looking in from the outside, not caught up in day-to-day operations. I’m not buried in your tactics, so it’s easier for me to be creative for you.
But you can’t always hire an outside creative consultant every time you need a fresh idea.
Someone recently pointed this out. My client said, “You bring some really good ideas to our attention. How can I get my team to be more creative?”
Generating creativity in the AV community can be tricky. AV people often work in their left brain, and to ask them to move to right-brain, creative thinking can be a tough switch…
But it’s not impossible.
Here are some things you can do to help foster creativity at your company — even among the least creative people you know.
1. Model Creativity
The first step to teaching your team how to be more creative is for you to be more creative. People are more creative when I’m in the room because I’m taking creative approaches and challenging their thinking.
Look for ways to get the creative energy flowing. Try some thinking exercises. Challenge people to come up with different and better ideas. Since you’re more involved in the big picture of the business than the tactical operations, use your vantage point to spark creativity.
Don’t think you’re up for it?
Remember the marketing person you keep saying you don’t need? You might need to hire them for their creativity as much as anything else.
Modeling creativity can help break the ice when the tacticians are hesitant to let their guard down.
2. Lead With Creativity
Developing a more imaginative team also means leading in a way that values creativity. Spotlight creative value in the things your company does.
Spend less time rewarding tactical accuracy and start rewarding inventiveness. You’re working with engineers and project managers — they’re going to be accurate. That’s what they do and what they’re comfortable with.
But if you want them to be more creative, start celebrating the creative solutions and ideas that find their way into the light. Help your team understand that it’s okay to try something new and fail.
Don’t forget that to lead with creativity, you have to be willing to embrace the failures. When an idea flops, don’t stifle second-guess what happened. Instead say, “That was a great idea — let’s try it again.” That’s what creative leaders say.
Leaders have the patience to give good ideas room to grow.
3. Sell Creatively
Want to really push your team towards new ideas? Start selling creative options to your clients. It’ll force your entire company to reckon with a creative solution.
I recommend using options in proposals or offering your customers multiple ways to buy a product. Give your clients the option for something astonishing.
When you hear the words, “I know it can be done, I just don’t how to do it,” then you are probably on the right track.
If it’s in your proposals, your sales team is going to have to learn how to talk about it, your project managers are going to have to learn how to respond to it, and someone might actually buy it and you’ll have to deliver it!
When that happens, you’ll tell your team, “If this was easy, anyone could do it.” Then, let them know it’s going to be alright.
Some people are born creative — but most of us learn it. If you’re ready to foster creativity in your business, highlight the value of creative ideas in your organization and that will incrementally get you closer to being a more creative company.