Maintaining a Creative Edge

One of the best ways you can get through these challenging times is to have a more creative edge as a manager.  To sharpen your creative edge, maintain focus and the correct balance of view, means doing things that challenge you in different ways.

As a manager how long has it been since you have taken the opportunity to to stretch or challenge yourself, or to even create an opportunity to view the world, your world differently?  You may think that in these financially uncertain times you or your business cannot afford to spend money on training, coaching or even simple networking, but I would say that these things are a little like advertising for a business.  When things are good, it’s good to advertise; when things are difficult, you can’t afford not to advertise.

Refreshing your view, at the very least, and learning new things at best: listening to and sharing with others can help you sharpen your edge as a manager.  Learning new and different ways to craft your skills, as manager and leader, should be a career long endeavour, and will help you get the best out of your business, your staff and your peers.

It is always beneficial to take yourself out of your immediate situation every now and then, to see what’s going on around you.  Taking a slightly different view or just changing your physical environment can be a tonic to inspiration, renewal and creativity, and may just offer you some ideas that will help you to deliver more effectively.

A few ways by which you can maintain your management and leadership creative edge are to:

  1. Attend taster sessions, seminars or short courses.  These are usually not too costly and your are likely to be able to choose topics you are more interested in learning more or hearing about, but you can stretch and challenge yourself by choosing topics which are new or different for you.
  2. Attend speaker events.  There are many speaker events at which you can hear from specialists and experts, as they share from their experience and knowledge.  This is a good way to learn from the mistakes and experience of others without having to go through some of these things yourself.  These are also great opportunities to pick up ideas and information easily and quickly.   Attending events like these will also bring home the fact that you are in good company in your desire to learn and grow as a manager and leader.
  3. Attending networking events.  Many people see these types of events as only occasions where you look for business or exchange information about business opportunities, and this can be the case.  However, network events can also be a place of learning from others, listening and gaining information and inspiration.  Some network events are combined with speaker events addressing management or business related topics.  There are run as breakfast, lunch time or evening events, so it can be easy for you to arrange your work day to fit your attendance.   At Open Mind Training & Development we run a number of these throughout the year, as well as some that in conjunction with other organisations such as Women in Management (WiM), Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and other organisations.  Sign up a mailing list or check websites regularly so that you can find out about up and coming events and so be able to book and plan them in your diary.
  4. Invest in yourself.  If you were to read the biographies of some of the most successful people in all walks of life, you will find, I am sure, that all of them invested time and money in themselves, in their own development.  Most were not rich, famous or successful when they started out, but they believed enough in themselves to make some time and financial investment in their own futures.
    • If you are a manager employed by someone else, you may be expecting your company to invest in you, and all good companies will do their best to achieve this.  But why leave the development of your career entirely in the hands of your employer?  Are you not worth your own time and money?  I would challenge you find ways to commit to your own personal and career development.  If you are not sure where to start, start by investing in a couple sessions with a career coach, who will be able to help you find some direction and some ideas on how you can begin to make that personal career development commitment to yourself.  She may even be able to help you to identify why you’ve not taken these step already, if you have resisted doing so.
    • If you are business own, then you know about the overall cost of running a business and I ‘m sure you will also know that the more you learn about how to manage yourself and your staff more effectively, the more time you will have to grow your business.  Well making sure that you take some time out to do this can make all the difference between burn out or should I say crash and burn out and surviving these times well.  A business coach is someone who can help you by taking an objective view of your business, it’s achievements and what you can do to improve your effectiveness and efficiency as a manager and business owner.  A skilled business coach will help you learn more useful ways to use your resources (your people, finance, equipment, etc) better.
    • Secondly as a business owner you should set an example to your staff by undertaking training and development yourself.  If you are prepared to show that you need to learn, this will become the culture of your business and your staff will see that it is acceptable and expected that they continue to learn and invest in their development also.  Are you and your business worth it?  If the answer in no, then you should give up now.
  5. Join an online group or community.  Online community groups can also be great places to connect with others, learn and share information on the given focus of the group.  Although you may not thinks so, your thoughts, ideas and experience are of interests to others.

These are, in the main free and as you learn you can also get involved by asking questions, sharing information and giving your opinion and feedback on issues.  It is also a great place to make friends, who have the say interest as your own.

You can join the Women in Management on line community at www.wimuk.co.uk which is open to men and women, its just that the focus is on women’s develop, but anyone can learn from here.

In closing I would note that there is a wealth of information around, but as accessible as it may be to us, unless we take the time to take hold of it, understand it and use it properly, it is useless to us.  Sometimes we need the help and support of others to show us how to do this best.

Make a positive change today.  How will you let this information positively influence you now?  Email me back and share your action plan for maintain your creative edge.

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