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Spotlight on Transferable Skills: Creativity

There was a time not too long ago where creativity and business didn’t mix. It was actually frowned upon in many sectors to be considered creative. I, myself, was a casualty. Back only about 15 years ago, I was asked to take a personality test as part of becoming a management candidate. Now if you’re ever asked to take a personality test as part of getting a job, run screaming the other way. But that is a subject for another day. At the time, I didn’t know any better. I took the test. I was later informed by my boss that I “failed” the test. Now how you fail a personality test I will never understand, but I read the report on me. It came down to one thing: I was too creative to be management. That was then. We creative types are now in demand and not just in the arts but in all sectors. Why’s that? Well, let’s talk about what falls under creativity.

Problem Solving. Companies are it the business of solving problems. That’s what makes them successful. Whether it’s as simple as solving the issue of what’s for dinner for a pizza shop to something more complex like a non-profit trying to solve the issue of world hunger, problem solving is at the core of business. To survive in today’s market, companies need out of the box thinkers. The days of the status quo are over. Companies don’t need “yes men” anymore; they need solution people.

Innovation. It’s a major buzzword for a reason. A business needs to do it, build it, make it better than the next guy in the same field. That means looking for new ways to accomplish your work, create new products or services, or find cost savings. It can mean taking a calculated risk and being comfortable with that. It means bringing ideas to the forefront and to the attention of the powers that be and for those powers to understand that anyone from upper management to the janitorial staff has something to contribute.

Initiative. Being able to motivate yourself is a desirable traits in any industry. Stepping up and going the extra mile for your company, whether it’s improving a process, solving an issue, or coming with a new product, is something anyone can do. Even if your idea isn’t approved by the higher ups, your initiative will impress them. Initiative can easily lead to promotion because they know that you care about the company’s success. So don’t keep that bit of inspiration to yourself. Share it!

Showing Curiosity. Curiosity breeds learning and learning leads to new concepts and ideas. Curiosity can be the key to creativity so engage it. Everyone can be curious. It used to be that we were sometimes chastised for being “too curious”, especially as kids. Too many questions! Don’t you know curiosity killed the cat! No more of that now that creativity is a desired trait. Show curiosity at work. Learn how a process works. Ask questions about it, such as why it is done the way it is. Has anyone tried this particular method in the past? Would it work for us? Is it an improvement? Don’t limit yourself to your own department, especially if you want to move up or laterally in your company. Showing curiosity can lead to new opportunities for you, maybe some new training. Find yourself a mentor that loves your questions. It means they like to teach and you can enjoy endless learning.

Adaptability. Creative people tend to be more adaptable, flexible, and willing to embrace change. This is essential in today’s ever altering world. Whether it is simply a new rule to follow or a whole software change, companies need people that are able to quickly adjust and be willing to do so. Yes, change can be stressful. Maybe you’re someone that hates change. Keep in mind that change does not equal bad. After all your wedding or new baby or landing your dream job was all a change. Stressful? Sure, but it was all good change. Take a different approach to change. Consider that maybe that new software they’re introducing will make your job easier. The new process will streamline the practice and allow you to work on a new project that you’ve been dying to do. Embrace it!

These are just a few items that fall under creativity. Can you think of others? Let us know in the comments!


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