Creative and Strategic Thinking: The Essential Competencies for Companies
All too often the culture or accepted approach for a department (or even the whole company) includes an emphasis on strategy or creative. More and more neither one can be considered an option because creative and strategic thinking are essential competencies for companies.
Fresh perspectives and new approaches about your products, markets, challenges and competition are essential. Digging into what’s involved in the different styles and phases of the creative and strategic thinking processes help allow you to really maximize the talent and brainpower already around you.
CREATIVITY IN TEAMS:
People are constantly baffled or even scared by the ‘creative process.’ It helps to approach it as a series of thinking processes that can be applied and learned. Now all of a sudden this mystery known as ‘creative thinking’ is easily accessible by all.
Creativity shouldn’t be considered a talent that only “experts” participate in and everyone else is resigned to the legions of non-creative types. In reality, a creative problem solving process can be simple and goes beyond the normal definition of ‘creativity’.
Let’s say your group is tasked with breakdown of a problem or opportunity that includes: content creation, technical challenges, customer input, team facilitation issues, delivery, and maybe even follow-up. Your team will need varied and diverse skill sets and mental approaches to tackle such an undertaking.
Here are a few reminders and tips that might help you while working creatively in a team:
- An understanding of each individual unique creative ability is the foundation for any team or group wishing to work on projects creatively. This helps team members tap into individual thinking styles.
- Valuing different thinking approaches will allow folks to share their thoughts and ideas openly.
- Once that openness occurs, the team’s creativity begins to surface, taking advantage of the different thinking varieties, rather than suffering them as obstacles.
- Take advantage of the different styles, tools and skills by applying them all to any given problem as a strategy to avoid getting stuck or stumped.
Ultimately honoring and respecting differing styles and perspectives helps to align the team objectives, which can mean better efficiency and can eliminate the wasting of time and money.
We each have a set of mental “defaults”. We have a regular reaction, almost unconsciously, when faced with a decision or challenge. Once you know what your own mental defaults may be, it is much easier to foresee and define your limitations. This of course helps highlight the areas that will be a challenge for you to see differently.
STRATEGIC THINKING AND PLANNING
You can do all of the best creative thinking and problem solving in the world but without a strategy to implement, that’s all just wasted energy.
Often when people mention the word “strategic”, planning is thought of rather than thinking. They are indeed different things. Frequently, organizations only consider strategy as logistics and inadvertently create a slow and cumbersome process.
It might help if you look at the idea of strategy as two parts:
1. Strategic Thinking
2. Strategic Planning
So why strategic thinking? and What is it?
Strategic thinking is a mental approach that can help:
- Predict future events and concerns.
- Understand your options and clarify your objectives.
- Create alternative solutions.
Before you come up with the plan discuss strategy on a higher philosophical level.
For instance, it’s useful to have an exhaustive examination of the key aspects and broad trends around the business that could have an impact on the future. You may find that this stimulates new thinking about key elements of what business is doing currently.
Look outside your company and scan your environment for trends, as well.
Re-examine the types of clients you serve and their specific needs. What does it mean to anticipate those customer needs as opposed to reacting to existing ones? This will help you think ahead to where you want to be, not where you are today.
Hopefully, this will stimulate ideas and clarity about what specific plan is best.
The business landscape today demands thinking skills and a creative approach that have not always been required.
Finding a partner like AMP to help when you might feel frustrated or “stuck” in your own perspective can save the day. Exploring as many ideas and processes as possible allows team members to see a value in their contribution and significantly increases the quality of the output.
When it comes to strategy, take your time. Again, a partner like AMP can help you zoom out and look at the bigger picture to think before you plan!