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How can you inject some creativity for your clients?

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abstractWe’ve talked a lot about the mission of your business, and driving employee engagement from that.

It works the other way around, too!

Your employees have a broad range of interests:  family, sports, social groups, hobbies, and so on. What do they have to do with job performance? Don’t they actually take time away from work?

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The last thing you need is employees.

Don’t get me wrong; You absolutely DO need these people. It’s the name “employee” that could be a problem.

Many years ago, Walt Disney started describing people in his company with more creative names such as “Imagineers” or “Cast Members.” These descriptors signified their unique value to the business, and a shift in mindset and relationship.

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Image by Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder

Image by Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder

It was one of the most bizarre weeks in my career.

I was working for a huge global IT firm at the time, and I was working on a challenging technical issue.  Back in the 1980s, we didn’t have the whole world’s knowledge at our fingertips, so I started asking around.

I ended up talking to dozens of people around the globe.  Nobody had the answer to my question, but they had various pieces of the puzzle.

At the end of the week, I talked with a person who said he’d heard of a guy in Colorado who was doing work in this area.  SCORE!  Then he gave me my name.

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If you’ve ever been to a trade show or promotional event of any kind, you know what I’m talking about.  Schwag is that branded giveaway stuff to help entice you to remember a company.

Berthoud Chamber ribbon cuttingI had a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting this week, a fantastic opportunity to meet other business owners in the community.  Definitely take advantage of opportunities like this when you join a Chamber!

As part of the business-to-business connection, it’s common to receive a “schwag bag” of goodies contributed by all the other businesses.  Well, I had an opportunity to look through the bag today, and it got me thinking about the nature of these giveaways.

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You know that innovation in your business carries risk. That new product might fail. The creative marketing campaign might bomb. So you cautiously invest in these efforts, attempting to control any damage which might result.

But you may not have realized that innovation is also personally risky for your employees. Despite your best efforts to encourage your folks to be creative and “think outside the box,” they experience personal turmoil in actually doing it.

Here’s why:

Your employees typically are paid to … do their job. Read the rest of this entry »

spectrum-395351_640I’m a pretty creative guy, I guess.  Not artistic-creative, but I have a lot of business ideas I bring to the community.

People sometimes ask me where I get these ideas.  I’ve done about 900 blog posts now (on this blog and others) and that’s a lot of subjects to write about.

The honest truth?  The ideas mostly come from others.  I pay attention and notice things.

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Work is, well, work.  And we have a whole lot of stress to go along with it.

Consequently, there’s an important role for stress-relieving activities.  Individually, we have weekends and vacations and such.  But as a team, how often do we take the opportunity to make work uplifting?

Instead, we spend all our time talking about the things which increase stress.  Deadlines.  Performance goals.  Conflict resolution.
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By Publishing House Mérida (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsYou want energized and enthusiastic employees, right?

A great way to grow a group of fantastic workers is to give them the ability to create, to innovate … even to play. But how do you keep them from wasting time and being distracted?

It all comes down to defining a great “playground.”

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Picture1I had a wonderful discussion today with a friend who has been struggling to integrate three radically different ways of thinking:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Church music

We discovered that each of these lenses brings a valuable, and fascinating, set of viewpoints.  The solution lies not with any single one of these, but with the ability to play between all three.

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