Respond to 3 of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
- Compare how you and your colleague view the elements needed to support creativity in the workplace.
- Share a relevant experience where you or your organization tried to implement an element or a practice in an effort to create an environment for employees to be more creative.
- Explore a way you might want to implement an element shared by your colleague at your organization or within your industry.
In the required reading title, How Pixtar Fosters Collective Creativity, Catmull noted some principles for managing a creative organization that I found very interest out the five mention I will only touch on three organizational principles at Pixar that support a workplace environment where employees can implement creative solutions to problems:
- “Create a peer culture- encourage people through your company to help each other produce their best work” (Catmull, 2008, p.1).
- “Free up communication- the most efficient way to resolve the numerous problems that arise in any complex project is to trust people to address difficulties directly, without having to get permission. So, give everyone the freedom to communicate with anyone. (Catmull, 2008, p.1).
- “Craft a learning environment- Reinforce the mind-set that you’re learning-and it’s fun to learn together” (Catmull, 2008, p.1).
Out of the three that I have mentioned above I have selected one principle that I am familiar with that could be implemented at my organization to improve creativity and the implementation of creative solutions. The one that would be beneficial I would have to say is craft a learning environment which will reinforce the mind-set that are we are as strong as a company as our counterparts.
I have learned from being at the girl scouts that when I created a learning environment I eliminated so many error on one hand but on the other hand the staff in the other departments was grateful for the training which enable them to do his or her job appropriately instead of just getting by in hopes that what they were doing would not blow up in their face. No matter what he or she skills set maybe we all at some point can benefit from a learning environment to strengthen our skills or provide us with the necessary tools to either get a promotion or better yet give him or her a sense of security.
I have done contracts for over 26 years so it was common for me to know what to look for when I was negotiating a contract so that at the end of the day I protected the company; but when you put the task on employees that don’t have a legal background or have never in their previous position been involved with contracts you leave room for error even though a template has been given to apply for the current situation.
As a Director of contracts and administrative services I made it my business to not only create a learning environment but also create a peer culture through my training class that each employee felt comfortable asking for helping without the fear that he or she didn’t know what they are doing by saying I have been doing contracts for a long time and with the change in times I too am in need of cross training or retraining as laws has change, I don’t know everything and I am not expecting you all to know everything but what I am expecting is that we lean on one another to get the job done and there is no dumb question just the one that has not been asked. With that stated all guards were dropped and the willingness to work together was a working process that in the end before I retired was a good implementation.
As stated from the required reading in creating a peer culture ”it helps people get over any embarrassment about sharing unfinished work” (Catmull, 2008, p.1) or appearing as though they have no clue in what he or she is doing and in the sense of crafting a learning environment in doing such it “trains people in multiple skills as they advance in their career” (Catmull, 2008, p.1) or better said provide a necessary tool that he or she is lacking to complete the task at hand.
There were three organizational principles from the Pixar article that I highlighted:
- “Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone,
- It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas, and
- We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community” (Catmull, 2008).
The principle I chose that could be implemented at my current organization to improve creativity and the implementation of creative solutions would be choice A. It would be beneficial to apply this principle at my company because often I feel creativity is being stifled by “having to go through the proper channels” (Catmull, 2008). For example, I had an idea about possible fundraisers, I presented it to my local manager, and he referred me to the District Manager, who then referred me to the Regional Manager. I had to keep talking to higher ranked officials because my idea was non-traditional, meaning they had never done anything like it before. By the time I spoke to the third person up the chain, I was uninspired and exhausted with how difficult it was to express myself. This round-a-bout way of communicating hinders the creative process which is why I chose this principle.
The concept of being able to talk to anyone regardless of hierarchy would help my organization significantly when trying to develop creative solutions to our troubles — specifically, our lack of financial resources for hosting events. My company builds some of the best quality homes in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, but we are deficient in the creativity department. Using this “freedom to communicate” principle, will eliminate many of the hurdles and barriers employees face when trying to be heard. Most managers you talk to will instantly blurt out “go talk to Mr. SuchandSuch to get that approved.” The creative thinking process should not be complicated, and it should not require the permission of several people.
If I were to implement this principle, I would expect to see more employee engagement, enthusiasm to share possible solutions, lower turnover, and higher job satisfaction. To put this principle into play, I would inform all managers to stop referring associates elsewhere and to listen to each person’s contributions. I would kindly discuss the adverse effects of ignoring workers as they are sharing strategies that may help to reduce problems in the future. I will explain to the team as a whole, that being dismissive of other’s ideas is not acceptable and could delay our creative thinking process.
Our organization brings in new people with fresh perspectives all the time, and if we tune out their original thoughts, we could be missing out on the breakthrough we need to beat the competitors. There are about 25 other home building companies in my area, so we have to fight to stay ahead of the competition by finding creative solutions to our obstacles. “The most efficient way to resolve the numerous problems that arise in any complex project is to trust people to address difficulties directly, without having to get permission” (Catmull, 2008). Once our managers take ownership of the problems and solutions that are being presented to them, we will be well on our way to discovering and implementing the best creative solutions to our problems.