Your Creative Team is Too Small
I believe innovation has always been the primary challenge of leadership. Our churches are in an era of such rapid change that leaders must continually work toward change and adaptation – all the while ensuring the organization remains true to its vision and values.
Leaders must recognize the entire staff’s natural capacity to adapt and create…
…or there won’t be innovation.
Does every staffer have the capacity to create? This question has been argued throughout the ages. Some schools of thought argue that not all of us have the talents or skills to be creative and others believe that those who do possess those skills depend on a Muse.
Let’s consider the premise that we all have some capacity for creativity. And let’s go one step further and reflect on this premise: Leaders should consider every staffer as creative.
What is creativity? For our discussion the answer is fairly simple. Creativity is taking a unique thought and implementing it to get something of value.
Creativity is also the process of using a set of tools in a unique and innovative way to implement an idea. We often think of creativity as being restricted to those in the Arts or to the artistic professions, but that’s not the complete truth.
So, let’s ask the question: Can creativity come from guest services, the outreach ministry, communications … facility personnel? Should leadership consider their entire staff as having a capacity for creativity? You know…the ones we normally label the “non-creatives”?
I say, “Yes!”
I’m not saying everyone has the capacity to be just as creative as the next person. That would be as foolish as believing that everyone has the capacity to be equally intelligent. But each of us do have the power to create.
Everyone has internal motivators that are very different from any external or outside rewards – such as money or grades. This motivation is fueled by the pleasure they receive from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on the task. An internally motivated person will find that working within their skill set and their area of passion provides a true sense of pleasure.
This motivation propels one to care, which compels them to immerse themselves fully into the task or duty. When this happens, they think about the task more and identify problems more quickly. And they find themselves offering solutions and creativity.
So, let me suggest that leaders who want to increase innovation should recognize their entire staff’s contributions to creativity and consider these three areas:
Meaning Engages Creativity
Every burst of creativity begins by identifying a problem or opportunity that somebody finds meaningful.
Depend on Diversity
Innovative organizations rely on diversity. If an organization becomes too homogenous, it becomes vulnerable and they become too slow to adapt. A diverse team knows that innovative and creative solutions will be created because different people do things differently.
Almost always, in a diverse organization, the solution the organization needs are already being practiced or thought about somewhere, by someone. If, as leaders, we fail to encourage unique and diverse ways of doing things, we destroy the entire system’s capacity to create.
Involve Everyone Who Cares
Meaning engages creativity and is augmented by diversity. A leader who builds a team with this in mind will provide the environment of creativity and innovation.
And in the church, this should always include volunteers.
I’ve been in ministry for 26 years and I’ve learned that, as a leader, we must invite everyone who finds meaning in what we’re doing to join us. Staff members need innovative partners. There’s always so much to do, so why not open the ranks to others with the same call and interest: those who understand giving. Those who care about the same things we care about.
When people give of themselves because they care, they are invested, they assess, they think, they innovate – and then they create.
So, what am I suggesting?
- Consider every staffer as creative. They have a life investment in the church. This internal motivation will propel them to innovate.
- Provide a pathway so creative collaboration can happen throughout the entire staff – the “creatives” and the “non-creatives.” Challenge them with a creative initiative. Guide them. Then stand back and see what happens. Creativity is always augmented by diversity.
- Allow for suggestions, imaginations, and creations to be shared. Make it a standard in your organization. Those who find meaning in their work will always be looking for ways to adapt the systems and processes – and become better.
- Pay tribute to innovation. Don’t just celebrate the creative elements of the weekend worship, but also the innovative accomplishments of the “non-creative” too. Ultimately, the success of the organization is based on every ministry and their success.
Everyone has some capacity for creativity. As leaders, we should harness each drop. Recognizing and empowering each team member’s contribution will enable the organization to adapt, create, and innovate.
And don’t forget to celebrate when creativity happens. It will.