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In contrast to last week’s UK-based post from Andy Wolf, this week’s guest author is a veritable neighbor of mine. Carol Kobza is a creative force with incredible innovation experience in creating brands, leading new product development teams, art directing new products, and focusing team efforts toward results.

I’ve gotten to know Carol over the past year as we’ve both been getting our businesses fully going. We’d talked about Carol doing a guest post, and I was so excited when this article arrived talking about how you can build a trusting environment that “nurtures creativity” in an organization:

Imagine that you are new to an organization. You’re enthused as you participate in one of your first meetings. A manager says, “We’re having trouble coming up with an idea for an activity for the executives’ meeting in Philadelphia next week.” You say, “How about the symphony?”

The response: “Bwaaaaaahhh!” followed by huge laughter that fills the room and bounces off the walls. No one else gives another idea. You leave the meeting and describe the occurrence to your co-workers. “What a rotten thing for her to do,” they whisper…and it begins. The manager becomes a regular subject of jokes in the cafeteria. Before you know it, there’s some serious, negative politicking going on.

Trust among people in organizations is a tender twig that is easily broken. And it is one of the elements of an environment that nurtures creativity.

How can you build trust in your organization?

  • Allow and reward people for discovering problems. Identifying a problem is not a criticism. It’s often an honest attempt to creatively improve the way things are done.
  • Sponsor and support ideas. Everybody with a great idea needs someone, who will protect them from the power of “NO” and clear paths around obstacles.
  • Support rather than undermine one another’s creative efforts. If people know they won’t be punished or laughed at for speaking up, they’re more likely to continue to give ideas. Who knows? The next one might save or make millions.
  • Encourage creativity. It doesn’t cost a dime. Studies show over and over again that a sincere compliment or “thank you” is more motivating than cash.
  • Let people be who they are. Diversity is more than race, gender and sexual preference. It’s also about the style in which someone thinks, speaks and dresses. The research bears this out. Diversity equals a happier, healthier and, guess what, more successful organization.
  • Free up information. Face it. Everyone has access to information so why put a choke hold on it? Where there is collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge, you’ll find people who enjoy their work and want to see their company succeed. – Carol Kobza
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Guest Author

The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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