Nurturing our creative spirit in the workplace

A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2008 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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The understand that there is the need to either nurture the creative spirit in the workplace or at least ensure the creative spirit in the workplace is nurtured so as to not cause problems in the workplace resulted from two journeys of exploration. One journey was the exploration of creativity in the workplace undertaken to understand why it was so difficult for employees to find truly creative solutions to the problems the organization faced. The second was a journey to find an alternative way to live life given all the successful but dissatisfied and unhappy people experienced in the workplace. Both these journeys led to the need to learn to nourish our creative spirit. Ideally, nourishing our creative spirit in the work place is to perform work that nourishes our creative spirit. However, if the work does not nurture our creative spirit then we need to develop a dance between the work we do in work and what we do out of work such that our creative spirit is nourished to replenish that which is drain from our creative spirit at work.

This, of course, sounds simple of enough. However, the problem many people encounter is both their work and their non work life drain their creative spirit and neither nourishes it. In these cases it is only a matter of time until there is some impact such as an accident, illness, disease occurs. The issue for an organization is when that individual has their accident at work. In this regard, there is need for the organization to become aware of individuals who cannot find that balance to replenish their creative spirit. From an organizational perspective is it not unreasonable to expect the workplace to nourish the creative spirit to the degree it drains the creative spirit. In this balance, the organization helps to guard against it creating the condition for the individual to have their accident.

The obvious response by many to the idea of the workplace nurturing the creative spirit in that the workplace is a place of work is not a place to worry about such things as nurture a person’s creative spirit. Many say that is not the purpose of work. However, when one begins to look at accidents and incidents in the workplace and then look at organizations which have exceptional performance, the workplaces that has the more knowledgeable, enthusiastic and attentive employees are the workplaces that tend to have better performance. What most have not realized is that it is a nurtured creative spirit that provides the energy and enthusiasm for what we do. The better nurtured the creative spirit is the better the performance one can expect and the more enthusiasm for what is done. Some look to improving working conditions, improving moral, better training and qualification and the like. However, in the end it is about whether or not the creative spirit has been effectively nurtured in and/or out of work.

Knowing that a well nourished creative spirit improves employee performance, the question is, "What is the role and responsibility of the organization in nurturing the creative spirit, especially if they wish to do everything possible to have the best competitive advantage?" Organization do not hesitate to change the way the raise food, raise farm animals and the like to improve their profits. Known what gives rise to the passion which lies in an individual and provide what is needed for exceptional performance at work, what is the role, or what should be the role, of the organization in nurturing the creative spirit of its members?

Ultimately it is the individual who is responsible for nurturing the creative spirit within them However, the organization can create the space which allows for the individual to nourish their creative spirit. Here it needs to be understood, it is entirely possible simply by hiring an individual the organization may be nurturing the individual’s creative spirit. If it so happens the employee is hired to do a job that exactly matches what the individual’s creative spirit needs we have the ultimate win-win combination for as long as the task and the needs of the employee’s creative spirit needs align. In this case there is little the organization needed to do other than give the individual that job. Unfortunately, this it not the normal match up the needs of the employee’s creative spirit and the task assigned in he workplace. Much of what humans do in life addresses the mundane of life and doing the mundane of life does not necessarily nurture the creative spirit to grow. Rather, often doing the mundane in life only allows for the creative spirit to survive.

Knowing that what an organization asks individuals to do are tasks which do not necessarily nurture the individual’s creative spirit, the organization can look to monitor if the individuals are maintaining a reasonable of enthusiasm for what they do. The higher the hazards and risk to other workers and the public, the greater the concern should be the organization. For example, over time organizations became aware they needed to limit the amount of time drivers of motor vehicles should be allowed behind the wheel of the vehicle. Simply the physical endurance of the human body limits the efficient of individuals. There are similar task that challenge the endurance of or spiritual, mental and emotional aspects of our being. We do not have just physical limitations.

Realizing an individual spends a good percentage of their life at work there needs to be an awareness as to how the task being performed at work does or doesn’t drain or nurture all aspects of the individual. This is why so many companies look at motivating its employees. Motivation goes beyond just the physical aspects of a job. There is the facets as to whether or not the individual thinks what they do is import to their life and the lives of others. These facets have been traditionally explored explored and understood. The difference in nurturing the creative spirit of the individual is there is now a focus as to exactly what these programs should be focused on. In many cases they may first have to ask the individual to get in touch with their creative spirit to know what type and kind of motivation would be best for them. Here again, we need to remember each individual is unique and will ultimate have unique needs. Many of the needs of the creative spirit in individuals are similar but they are subtle and profound differences.

One of the most powerful ways an organization can help to nourish the creative spirit in the workplace is to help individuals understanding and become aware of their own creative spirit. In that awareness, the can learn to take responsibility for both nurturing their creative spirit to do what needs to be done and find a place to work that allows their creative spirit to be nurtured in the way it needs to be nurtured. In this case the organization only helps to properly place its employees. Again, this something companies have been doing for years and it is only a matter of shifting focus.

The bottom line is no amount of money or perks can make up for the life that is taken from you in what we do. We may get paid well, but we nevertheless are paying a price in the damage that is caused to our creative spirit to work in such an environment. Both the individual and the organization suffers when the creative spirit withers and dies within an individual. The question is how will that withering creative spirit come back to haunt and impact both the individual and the organization.

One issue that does arise to be addressed especially on the individual level is that many individuals live their life, including the jobs they take, based on ego needs. Many of these ego needs are based on their early life and the individuals still respond to life based on response patterns developed in childhood to protect themselves when their creative spirit became thwarted. Here the individual will need to sort out what arises from the ego and the true needs of the create spirit. Again the issue become how much should the organization become involved in such a sorting process realizing the childhood response patterns to life used by many managers are seriously undermining the organization and the satisfaction of its employees. Some additional thoughts are provided in the topic, "The issue of identifying and meeting true organizational needs"

Ultimately it needs to be remembered, any organizational creative endeavor starts with a single individual and grows outward from the individual. The more the creative endeavor can access the passion of the creative spirit of the individuals in the organization, the easier any change or transformation can be made. The more the creative endeavor alienates the creative spirit of the individual the more difficult the change or transformation will be. In looking to see how the creative sprit of the individuals in the organization will be come more free or less free and/or is or is not nurtured one can get an idea as to the type and kind of the obstacles and problems facing an organization relative to embracing a truly creative solution. Here we need to remember and understand that what we face it trying to bring a creative energy into the organization is more often than not, not personal. Rather, it is simply the result of the nature of an organization and the nature of any creative endeavor.

Related topics
Harnessing the creative spirit

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