Creativity is so important for businesses, now more than ever during the pandemic. Leaders who have taken the position of “we’ve always done it this way” have found themselves in dire conditions. Revenue that plummeted is taking far longer than ever imagined to return.
Most companies that find themselves in this situation have made at least some efforts to modify how they do business to generate new sources of revenue. But small changes aren’t enough to keep troubled companies in business for the long term.
Discussions about different strategies often occur among your senior people. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to throw out that play book and tap into your full company’s brain trust for ideas.
Given that many people are still working remotely, one way to do this is to create small work groups of 4-6 people, for example, to meet virtually and exchange ideas. Frame the objective with one question: “Given our collective talents, if we were starting over as a company, what could we do to create value?”
The italicized phrases are the keys for the discussion. You want to stay within skill sets of your people to enable transfer of those talents. Envisioning a new company is to break the bias is towards the “old” business and the markets you’ve served until now. And value creation is essential to be able to sell.
In effect, you’re giving people permission to think creatively without the constraint of what was “business as usual”. Emphasize that no idea is a bad idea knowing that the seeds of good ideas can emerge from something that first may seem preposterous.
Don’t think of this a one-time exercise, rather welcome it as an ongoing conversation. It will take time for people to get comfortable speaking up and sharing ideas. The point is to tap into the minds and hearts of people who are invested in your company and welcome their ideas.
Be open to what you learn from doing this. As a bonus, you may be creating the foundation for a more inclusive and engaged company.