Are You Creative In Management - Part 1
On the 25th of last month, I was invited by the Sabah Education Department to deliver a keynote speech to its managers and officers on a very important and interesting subject that I would like to share with you. The subject was Creativity in Management.
Creativity is a vital part of modern management. This is because regardless of the size or the type of an organization – profit or non-profit, government or private – business as usual is over. In today’s world and in order to succeed, organizations must apply creativity in their management practices, leadership qualities, operations, products development, marketing strategies, organization studies, and the list goes on to contain almost everything related to their operations.
Some scholars define creativity as “The phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) Others define it as “Producing new and useful ideas concerning products, service, processes and procedures by individuals or a group of people”.
The most suitable definition of creativity – in my opinion – is, “Creativity is the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, adding values, and improving the way of life”.
On the other hand, Harvard Business Review described management as “The process of guidance, directing, and controlling for the sake of attaining objectives efficiently and effectively with and through other people”.
Therefore, I can define Creativity in Management as, “Producing or adopting new or existing useful ideas, alternatives, possibilities, and methods in order to manage effectively and efficiently”. [Qassem, Ali, “The Role of Motivation in Organizational Performance”, 2008]
People’s general perception of creativity is that creativity is the creation of new ideas. However, recognizing and implementing existing ideas, methods, and technologies in management are of equal importance. Managing organizations is one of the most complex, multidimensional, sensitive, and challenging fields. Each day, the job of the manager becomes more complex, difficult, accompanied by new challenges, tasks, and problems caused by many known and unknown factors.
Among these factors are the continuous economic shifts, challenges and competition, the increasing of the organization’s size, technology, and complexity, and the increasing burden of the population growth. In addition, there are also other issues like the speedy development of the methods for gathering and analyzing information, and the diversities of people’s thoughts, aspirations, attitude, skills, knowledge, and the like.
However, despite these and other factors, organizations must use their resources wisely and efficiently, consistently satisfy their customers, thrive and grow in this competitive economy, and make profit through effective management.
Hence, organizations must produce or adopt ideas and methods in order to deal with the increasing levels of these challenges and complexity that they are facing.
Many organizations focus only on operational effectiveness, which is very essential to organizational success, but it is insufficient. Organizations must recognize and choose new or existing ideas and methods to perform activities differently, and that is exactly what we call effective strategy.
Creativity in management implies producing or adopting existing knowledge of all kinds to produce something of value. This can happen only if the organization can utilize its people, who are the source of knowledge, correctly and efficiently.
Unless and until the management can reach these people and can use their knowledge, and make their contribution effective for them and the organization, there will be no effectiveness at all.
Creativity in management; however, is not about how much knowledge or talent the people in an organization possess, but about what the organization does with these knowledge and talents. The organization must utilize all the knowledge and talents available to increase its effectiveness and efficiency.
Creativity in management implies understanding the human related problems that any organization faces.
Organizations face challenges when they start hiring people, how to make them effective teams, how to lead them, what is the best way to have effective communication, which the lack of it creates conflict, lack of motivation, and lead to poor performance.
In addition, they face the challenges of evaluating performance, abiding by the organization’s code of ethics, coping with change, training and development, and the new alarming challenge of dealing with generation “Y”.
All these are human related challenges and difficulties that necessitate creating or adopting new or existing ideas to reduce their impacts on the organization’s overall performance.
Furthermore, creativity in management necessitates that the manager today must possess, beside sufficient knowledge on management (technical, administrative, problem-solving, decision-making, and human relations skills) certain knowledge on economy, psychology, emotional intelligence, philosophy, sociology, and human rights.