Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Creativity in the Workplace: Management's Responsibility for Positive Communications

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Creativity in the Workplace: Management's Responsibility for Positive Communications

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Communicating ideas and visions accurately within an organization is critical to the organization's success. Many methods to transmit the desired information are available to facilitate effective communication. Managers need to be aware of these methods and how they can improve their own communication skills as well as their employees' skills within the organization. This paper focuses on idea collection, methods, vision, and skills improvement of communication in the workplace.

INTRODUCTION

An idea is a conception formed by effort. Businesses thrive on new ideas, and very often their success relies on new conceptions or plans developed by employees of the company. Therefore, managers must be aware of ways to encourage the production of ideas in the workplace. However, idea generation is not enough. Ideas must also be communicated to others in order to be beneficial to any business. This paper presents some methods and strategies that managers can use to aid in idea collection.

COMMUNICATION AND IDEA COLLECTION

Customers can provide feedback to businesses in the form of surveys and focus groups. These methods of idea gathering are good for improving existing products and services, but customers are not able to perceive the scope and depth of possibilities that the company may be seeking (Buggie, 2001). Many customers simply do not have the knowledge to suggest innovative ideas for corporate change and improvement. However, collecting ideas informally from individual employees can lead to big successes. Employers can encourage employees to put suggestions in the old fashioned suggestion box, assuming that they are looked at, discussed, and analyzed for possibilities (Messmer, 2001). Other methods include implementing an idea lottery, an idea notebook, or an idea quota and displaying an Idea Hall of Fame to recognize contributions made by employees (Michalko, 1997).

In the idea lottery, the employer gives a ticket to each employee as ideas are shared and then holds a lottery at the end of a specified time, with a prize going to the winning ticket holder. Idea notebooks are presented to employees to keep a running record of their ideas, and at the end of the month the books are collected and all employee ideas are categorized and shared. Idea quotas entail requesting a specified number of ideas to be shared during a period of time (Michalko, 1997).

Managers can provide training (workshops, seminars) to employees in the form of creative training, communication training for collaboration, conflict resolution training (Reyes, 2000), and even improvisation and humor sessions (Bourrie, 1995). Employees may need to be trained to tap into their own creativity, and most people can use training or refreshers on how to effectively communicate with others. Conflict resolution is important for keeping peace when groups come together to accomplish a task, since not everyone will agree on all points. Surprisingly, companies are even bringing in comedians, actors, and improvisation artists to work with employees. Humor brings enjoyment to the workplace, and the person enjoying his job will feel less stressed and appear more approachable (Bourrie, 1995). Improvisation allows for team building and requires imagination. Most importantly, improvisation teaches "yielding," which means going with your colleague's idea rather than entertaining your own ideas (Bourrie, 1995).

Some companies are fostering creativity through the work environment and corporate culture. Workspaces that support the movement of people and spontaneous idea sharing are becoming more common. Cubicles with low walls or no walls at all encourage communication (Reyes, 2000). Mobile tables, carts, and easels facilitate spontaneous and planned idea sessions (Scott, 1996). Another workspace trend today is replacing the traditional meeting room with a creative retreat that promotes a relaxed atmosphere for communication and idea flow. …

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