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3 Unlikely Things Leaders Should Say To Encourage Team Innovation (And Why It's Important)

Jade Yourth
Industry Insights
happy team of employees working together

Jaws will drop. Eyebrows will raise. And that's exactly what you want.

Creativity is the lifeline of any business. There's constant pressure to keep churning out something better, newer, and greater than the last. We rely on our creative teams to come up with that next big trend, make videos that go viral, and post content that attracts millions of Instagram followers.

But like all things in today's social media, celebrity-driven market, nothing lasts forever. Last week you may have been in high demand, but now you've become obsolete. So it's back to the drawing board, as your team rallies to conjure up another big idea

Unfortunately, coming up with the next big trend day in and day out isn't easy. In fact, it's impossible. Sometimes great ideas happen effortlessly. Other times, they don't.

When it's clear your creative team has hit a wall, it's your job as a leader to do something about it. Now it's your turn to think outside the box. Motivating your team and finding a new way to inspire great ideas should become your number one priority. If you're not proactive, it will hurt every corner of your business.

That's why a little shock value may be exactly what's needed to get the juices flowing. So the next time you find them banging their heads against the wall, try saying one of these: 

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1. "What will get us fired?"

Figuratively, not literally. This doesn't mean you trash the office or start posting company secrets on social media. It means you approach creativity with complete freedom. When there's no rules, boundaries, or limitations, people can think from a place of clarity.  

Start with the most outlandish ideas and watch your team's reaction. For example, "Let's make every new car 99 cents for the month of December" or "We're going to contact our clients and tell them our new billing rate is $1 million an hour". Ridiculous? Yes. But now they're listening. 

Your goal with this exercise is to create a comfortable and welcoming environment where anything goes. Emphasize the importance of inclusively and non-judgment, no matter how outrageous or terrible the idea may be.

It won't take long until the exaggerated ideas start to become more streamlined and in tune with the type your company needs to build on. 

2. "Let's play hooky and get out of here."

How many times have you looked at the same document over and over again, until all of the words start sounding the same? 

When the team's stuck in a rut, leave the rut. Even if you're under a tight deadline and emails are stacking up in your inbox, dealing with a stalled creative team is far more important. You won't churn out the best if your team isn't at their best. 

Never underestimate the power of a having fun. Take everyone out and do something to get their minds off of the task at hand. Head to the nearest pub and watch the game, or go skiing for the afternoon. Just remember to steer from talking shop so you fully unplug and regroup.

3. "How about we focus on quantity, not quality?"

You've built your reputation on providing high quality goods or services. It's a value you've engrained in your mission statement, even your employee manual. The notion that 'more is more' is not only foreign to your staff, but considered taboo.

That's precisely the issue. There's too much pressure to come up with the biggest and best that your team may be afraid to share an idea out of fear and insecurity. 

If you think this could be the reason why creativity is stalled, call a meeting. Put one person in charge of writing, and record every idea that anyone comes up with, no matter how irrelevant or idle they may be.

At the end, read the ideas out loud to the group. There may be one that stands out from the rest, which will spark a new conversation and become your focal point. 

 

Founder and chief executive, Creative Niche