Why Success Kills Creativity And 3 Ways Companies Can Nurture It Back
Without success, companies perish. But success can become a trap that stifles creativity, too.
“What got you here won’t get you there.” As companies succeed, they are less likely to take the risks that led them to success in the first place.
The companies that manage to challenge their team members are the ones that cultivate their next, next, and next creative breakthroughs.
How can you lead your team to regain the creativity that got you the success you have? Here are three tips:
1. Stop the Sameness
“We’ve always done it this way” is a sure sign of sameness sickness. It means that creativity has been stifled.
Doing things the same way is one of the most dangerous traps for any business. This is what often holds a team back from its creative potential.
To break from sameness, companies can start by reframing the way it sees themselves, their industry, their products, or their customer relationships.
For example, a company I consulted broke out of the sameness of its place in the real estate industry by seeing itself as a lifestyle company.
2. Reframe the Stakes
Ask yourself, “What’s at stake?” This helps reframe the core assumptions, ferret out anything lost or muddled, and leads to the core of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
This reveals the real change you are seeking to make. Then consider that change by how you want to affect your customer’s or employees’ lives, how your products or services serve that goal at a higher level, and how to rethink in a new context, which can lead to massive insights and innovations.
This step will free your company from past successes and set your sights on new ones. Reframing what you want for success next, you can re-ignite passion throughout the organization.
3. Different Thinking
From an early age, we’re encouraged to fit into society’s norms. We are encouraged to act as others act and do what is normally done.
But conforming to these norms in society — in an industry and in the world — means cutting out possibilities, including the opportunity to innovate the way forward creatively.
Patagonia, for instance, owns the core value “Not bound by convention.” Here’s how they live this: “Do it our way. Our success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.”
Stepping outside expected norms liberates companies to do things differently than others, including what competitors might expect.
Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful organization, but it takes courage to break free from the safety of the status quo. A business that dares to challenge its own entrenched ways of doing things and opens itself up to new possibilities builds a practiced skill of creative innovation.
By fostering this inventive spirit, workplaces become dynamic environments primed for healthy growth and lasting success.
“Steve has one of the best minds and hearts in the business. He’s a brilliant advisor, and an excellent coach. He’s smart, creative, thoughtful, and gets results.”
— Dorie Clark, Best-Selling Author of The Long Game, Speaker, HBR writer.
If you’d like to know more about the outcomes I help you achieve and what it’s like to work with me, I’m happy to explore that. Just drop me a line.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.
May 15, 2023
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