Has Your Team’s Creativity Well Run Dry?
By: Ethan Schutz
Problem solving and creative thinking are essential in many fields. Whether you’re developing new technology, need a winning way to connect with customers, or have to sell a super familiar offering to a bored public in a new and exciting way, you need great ideas. Lots and lots of great ideas.
Sometimes your team has it. Maybe you can think back to earlier days, when your team would go into brainstorming sessions overflowing with ideas and leave energized and ready to change the world. Reaching that peak performance and staying on top are two different questions. It’s not unusual for creative teams to hit a dry spell, where innovative concepts are few and far between and every idea is something that’s been heard many times before. Sometimes your team will tell you they’re blocked; other teams may refer to themselves as burned out.
What’s a leader to do in that situation?
Will Schutz, Ph.D., creator of The Human Element, identified a five-step process to overcoming creative blocks. The five stages are experience, association, expression, evaluation, and perseverance. Each stage has its own unique fears built in – common concerns that can keep a team from generating fresh new ideas.
For example, during the Experience stage, individuals build a repertoire of skills and understandings through a process of trying new things. If a team member is afraid that he or she won’t be able to accurately process and retain the information they’re being exposed to, that fear can eliminate the benefit of the new experience. Creativity is hindered as a result.
A trained Human Element practitioner can work with teams struggling with creative blocks. The process involves both guided self-examination and communication activities that foster stronger team bonds. It is through developing a truly collaborative workplace, where individuals can confidently generate and share their creativity that good work happens. Some teams, especially those who rely on their team’s creativity abilities on an ongoing basis, find it prudent to have a member of their leadership team trained as a Human Element practitioner. Learn more about becoming a Human Element practitioner here.