Oct 182013

Are you creative? Are you innovative?

Why is it that every time I ask these questions, my seminar participants shift uncomfortably in their seats? Maybe because they equate creativity and innovation with the arts and entertainment, which is off the mark, so to speak.

Being creative means using the imagination or original ideas to create something. You are creative, maybe you just never got around to putting those creative juices into practice. Consider this: give any kid a pen or a crayon and tell them to create something, and they’d amaze you with their work. They’d draw, color, imagine, but they won’t say, “But I don’t have the gift for it….” or “But I’m not creative.”

Maybe this is the reason why children stay happy and adults don’t.

Then the little kids start school, and as they grow up, their creativity isn’t given much opportunity to come out. Following rules take primary importance.“

Do not speak when not spoken to.”

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“Follow the cue.”

“Do not color outside the lines.”

“Write down the answers inside the box.”

“Make sure you stay within the borders.”

Then when they start working, their bosses and managers would say, “You have to think outside the box!” Seriously?

We are creative because you and I were created by a Brilliant Designer and Creator.

From an idea, we can create something tangible. The moment you start thinking that you’re not creative, you’ll be right!

I keep on wondering what it is about outside the box that everyone’s fascinated about. Although thinking outside the box is a popular phrase and it has a nice sound to it, sometimes, out-of-the-box thinking can lead to ideas that could actually kill your business. If you’re a business owner and a seminar junkie, you need to think carefully about this.

Thinking inside the box isn’t such a bad idea. What makes it bad is when you stay inside the box without thinking, and you fight every idea that’s designed to change and improve the box.

First of all, you need to define your business box. This may sound simple but it’s not an easy thing to do. Your business box should be able to make you understand the objectives of doing your business. It should also define the goals you strive for. This may sound old and tried, but they still make sense – your goals should be SMART:

Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and of course, Time-bound. Then you have to do the most crucial of them all: you need to execute your plans and follow through with them.

Here are some crucial questions I need to ask myself as far as my own businesses are concerned:

1. How’s my finance? Cash flow is extremely important.

2. Customer pipeline – Am I creating new customers and retaining others?

3. How is my company culture? Are the people in my organization having fun and creating new ideas? Are they ethical and honest and genuinely happy working for my organization?

4. Business Operations – Are we efficient and effective? Can we lessen bureaucracy and get things done a little bit faster but with a greater amount of accuracy and effectivity?

These are things you need to consider inside the box of your organization. You neglect these, and you’re in trouble.Don’t just mouth clichés without understanding the context. Do some serious thinking from inside the box as well, rather than just outside of it.

(Develop your leadership skills and life skills by spending two whole days with Francis Kong on November 21-22 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. Call Inspire at 09158055910 or 632-6310912 for details. Connect with him via Facebook page www.facebook.com/franciskong2.)

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