Gone are the days when offices were typically cubicle, surrounded by white walls and lit by white fluorescent lights. Thanks to corporate giants like Google and Pixar that have demonstrated tremendous success despite their unconventional workplaces, more people are embracing the idea that creative work environment helps stimulate minds and inspire innovation. From simply ditching the crisp white walls for graphical wallpapers to a total overhaul of the office layout, we are all trying to break the mold and introduce a unique working environment to the team, and hopefully inspire some genius ideas along the way.

 

So if you are trying to inject some personality into the place you spend your daily 9-5, how about getting some cue from the creative giants themselves?

Here some examples to follow:

 

  • Google (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Facebook (Palo Alto, California – USA)
  • Skype (Tallin, Estonia)
  • Digg (San Francisco, USA)
  • Twitter (San Francisco, USA)
  • Swatch (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • General Motors (Detroit, USA)
  • Red Bull (London, UK)
  • Pixar (Emeryville, California – USA)

 

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Leadership has sometimes been described as taking people to a place that they would not normally go to on their own. Once a sound strategic planning process has determined what that place should be it is the leader’s prime and fundamental responsibility to assure that there is cultural alignment with the vision and that the full resources of the organization are effectively brought to bear to achieve that destination.

An effective planning process will systematically examine the company’s situation, its assumptions about the future and its current and required competencies. It will then bring the management team to consensus on a future course and direction for the firm. The output should be a vision: a realistic, credible, attractive future for the organization. An effective planning process will also be participative in nature. A team of people will provide input from different functional and personality perspectives and their participation will create the buy-in necessary for successful implementation. But at the end of the day it is the organization’s leader who has to be the chief steward of the vision. It is he or she who has to be obsessed with the desired outcome.

 

By Barry Wolfson

 

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In today’s rapidly changing business environment everyone is looking for ways to become more effective in their thinking. An important way to promote effective thinking at the office, is to foster a creative work environment. Having fun is a big part of developing a creative work environment. In fact, humor makes up an essential part of effective thinking; and is the one basis of creativity. It allows us to break away from predictable, set patterns opening up the floodgates to unconventional, innovative solutions.

 

Here are 12 other suggestions on how you can invite creativity into your workplace:

 

  1. When presenting information, look for ways to add a graphic such as a funny picture or a drawing to illustrate your point.
  2. Leave fill-in-the-blank sections on your reports; ask for volunteers to complete your thoughts.
  3. Think in opposites: present from the back of the room, start the meeting from the end of the agenda, or give a series of answers and ask what the questions are.
  4. Call a daily recess; take time out to laugh.
  5. Take time just to doodle; see what happens.
  6. Stop time: take off your watch and turn the clock around. Go all weekend without wearing your watch.
  7. Experiment! Try doing something different.
  8. If your company will allow it, dress casually one day each week. If they don’t, change the rules!
  9. Use music. Try playing background music while holding a performance review.
  10. Wear a pair of kid’s funny glasses for a complete day. This will inspire you to see things in a new light and alter your perspective.
  11. Write all your memos using crayons.
  12. Design and wear your own thinking cap for a week.

 

Creativity is an attitude that demands that you manage your thinking. It’s a way of blending together data based research, which is logical and rational thought, with outrageous exploratory know-how that comes from your intuitive wisdom. When you integrate this intuitive ability with learned information and knowledge, you operate using all your resources which provides flashes of insight and recharges your thinking. Creative thinking has always been the driving force that has moved our country forward. To remain competitive, businesses must effectively use their most valuable resource: brainpower. Any organization that can harness the limitless potential of their people’s creativity is powerful and unstoppable.

 

By Grace McGartland

 

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For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together- exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.

What is creativity in business?

Creativity is a crucial part of the innovation equation. Creativity requires whole-brain thinking; right-brain imagination, artistry and intuition, plus left-brain logic and planning.

Creativity is a core competency for leaders and managers and one of the best ways to set your company apart from the competition.

Corporate Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Generating fresh solutions to problems, and the ability to create new products, processes or services for a changing market, are part of the intellectual capital that give a company its competitive edge.

 

By Linda Naiman

 

 

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents 34 industrialised nations reported that mothers in the UK are more likely to rush out to work than those in other Western countries, ignoring research that those who stay at home tend to bring up children who are better behaved and do well at school.

The report quotes studies which found that children of working mothers fare worse in reading and maths tests, tend to be more badly behaved and are more likely to have attention problems.

Critics say the report lays bare the extent to which successive governments have harmed a generation of youngsters by encouraging women to put their children into care and go out to work.

Only Denmark has a higher proportion of mothers in paid work when the child is a year old.

The report shows that in most of the world, maternal employment does not harm child development – but this is not the case in the UK  and the U.S.

 

By Daniel Martin

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We spend a lot of time where we work.  Think of the resources consumed, the waste produced, cleaning substances used, and the energy needed to run lights, produce heat and operate equipment. Sustainability at your workplace has multiple benefits — saving money, increasing the comfort and efficiency of the work space, boosting the personal well-being of employees, reducing environmental impacts, and meeting the social responsibility goals of the business.

Increasingly, workplaces are committing to making changes with the environment in mind.

Choosing to be a “green” workplace can take many forms.  In general, it is probably a good idea to start small and build from there.

Some basic steps can help gets things off to a good beginning:

  • At the outset, do an inventory or audit of current practices. This is useful in helping to set priorities and provides baseline information against which to measure progress.
  • Have a plan that identifies goals, priorities, resources needed, timelines, and evaluation or measurement tools.
  • Include workplace education and awareness so that employees understand the purpose, anticipated outcomes and benefits of the program.
  • Report back frequently through e-mail, newsletters, posters or other means, so that participants are kept informed about how things are going.

Small steps do make a difference!  Here are some examples of specific measures that some workplaces have implemented.

  • WASTE REDUCTION: Implement a recycling program for office paper. Start used-on-one-side paper banks in the office (being aware of confidentiality issues if materials contain private information). Print documents double-sided.
  • COMPOSTING: Start a composting system for lunch scraps or other food waste from your workplace.
  • ENERGY: Install energy-efficient fluorescent lights. These pay for themselves many times over through lower energy bills. Turn off lights and equipment when not in use. Consider installing programmable thermostats to reduce heating/air conditioning during non-business hours
  • TRANSPORTATION:  Promote sustainable commuting practices by contributing to bus passes for staff, organizing car-pools or awarding prizes to the greenest commuters. Register and participate in the annual Commuter Challenge.
  • AWARENESS:  Host a speaker to give a presentation on an environmental issue to staff and/or customers.
  • PROCUREMENT:  Use recycled paper. Purchase environmentally friendly cleaning products for your office

 

By livinggreenlivingwell.ca

 

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In business, a leadership style called “transformational leadership” is often the most effective approach to use. Transformational leaders have integrity, they inspire people with a shared vision of the future, they set clear goals and motivate people towards them, they manage delivery, and they communicate well with their teams.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the leadership styles that you can use.

1. Transactional Leadership

This leadership style starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader when they accept a job. Although this might sound controlling and paternalistic, transactional leadership offers some benefits: it clarifies everyone’s roles and responsibilities and, because it judges team members on performance, people who are ambitious or who are motivated by external rewards often thrive.

2. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership where leaders have complete power over their people. Decisions are made quickly, and work gets done. Autocratic leadership is often best used in crises, when decisions must be made quickly and without dissent.

3. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leaders work “by the book”. They follow rules rigorously, and ensure that their people follow procedures precisely. This is an appropriate leadership style for work involving serious safety risks or where large sums of money are involved. It is also useful in organizations where employees do routine tasks (as in manufacturing).

4. Charismatic Leadership

A charismatic leadership style can resemble transformational leadership because these leaders inspire enthusiasm in their teams and are energetic in motivating others to move forward. This excitement and commitment from teams is an enormous benefit.

5. Democratic/Participative Leadership

Democratic leaders make the final decisions, but they include team members in the decision-making process. They encourage creativity, and team members are often highly engaged in projects and decisions.

6. Laissez-Faire Leadership

It refers to leaders who allow their people to work on their own. This type of leadership can also occur naturally, when managers don’t have sufficient control over their work and their people. This leadership style can be effective if the leader monitors performance and gives feedback to team members regularly. It is most likely to be effective when individual team members are experienced, skilled, self-starters.

7. Task-Oriented Leadership

Task-oriented leaders focus only on getting the job done and can be autocratic. They actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, and plan, organize, and monitor work.The benefit of task-oriented leadership is that it ensures that deadlines are met, and it’s especially useful for team members who don’t manage their time well.

8. People-Oriented/Relations-Oriented Leadership

With people-oriented leadership, leaders are totally focused on organizing, supporting, and developing the people on their teams. This is a participatory style and tends to encourage good teamwork and creative collaboration.

9. Servant Leadership

It describes leaders often not formally recognized as such. They have high integrity and lead with generosity. It is a form of democratic leadership because the whole team tends to be involved in decision making.

10. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders are inspiring because they expect the best from everyone on their team as well as themselves. This leads to high productivity and engagement from everyone in their team.

It’s also important to use other leadership styles when necessary – this will depend on the people you’re leading and the situation that you’re in.

 

 

By mindtools.com

 

 

 

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If you have ever had to work in close contact with other people for any length of time, then you have probably noticed that not everyone takes the same approach to work. It is easy for people with different personalities to get on one another’s nerves, especially spending so many hours a day together. The best way to learn to respect one another and work together is to understand each other and appreciate each other’s strengths.

 
Creative vs. Structured

  • One of the greatest sources of personality clash in the work place can be between very creative people and very structured ones. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but often creative people can be unorthodox and resist structure. They may appear to be disorganized and “goofing off,” which can irritate people who are task- and detail-oriented. The truth is, though, that a company needs both these types of people — the ones who can produce brilliant ideas and the ones who have the skills to carry them through to completion.

Generational Differences

  • When 50- and 60-somethings work together in the same office as 20-somethings, the clash can be based on the values each of them learned when growing up. Older workers tend to focus on obeying the rules, younger ones on challenging them. For those who are nearing retirement, dedication means a single-minded focus, but those just entering the work force have grown up multitasking. Each should recognize what the other has to offer: the older generation has experience and strong work ethics; the younger, flexibility and creativity.

Cultural Differences

  • Nearly every office place is multicultural to some extent. It is important to remember that different cultures tend to communicate differently. Be slow to anger when dealing across culturesPersonality Tests
  • There are several different personality tests available that are intended to help people in the work place identify their own and others’ strengths. The DISC system, for instance, groups people into one of four categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Many companies are now employing these to help develop better understanding and teamwork among their employees.

By ehow.com

 

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The cycle superhighway which opened in April, is the first of 26 routes scheduled to be built to encourage more people to commute to and from Copenhagen by bicycle. It is the brainchild of city planners who were looking for ways to increase bicycle use in a place where half of the residents already bike to work or to school every day.

“We are very good, but we want to be better,” said Brian Hansen, the head of Copenhagen’s traffic planning section.

They decided to make cycle paths look more like automobile freeways. While there is a good existing network of bicycle pathways around Copenhagen, standards across municipalities can be inconsistent, with some stretches having inadequate pavement, lighting or winter maintenance, as well as unsafe intersections and gaps.

For the superhighway project, Copenhagen and 21 local governments teamed up to ensure that there were contiguous, standardized bike routes into the capital across distances of up to 14 miles.

The plan has received widespread support in a country whose left- and right-leaning lawmakers both regularly bike to work. Several biking innovations are being tested in Copenhagen. Some, like footrests and “green wave” technology, which times traffic lights at rush hour to suit bikers, have already been put into place on the superhighway. Others, like garbage cans tilted at an angle for easy access and “conversation” lanes, where two people can ride side by side and talk, might show up on long-distance routes in the future.

 

 

By Sally McGrane

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The organization’s culture develops in large part from its leadership while the culture of an organization can also affect the development of its leadership. For example, transactional leaders work within their organizational cultures following existing rules, procedures, and norms; transformational leaders change their culture by first understanding it and then realigning the organization’s culture with a new vision and a revision of its shared assumptions, values, and norms.

Effective organizations require both tactical and strategic thinking as well as culture building by its leaders. Strategic thinking helps to create and build the vision of an agency’s future. The vision can emerge and move forward as the leader constructs a culture that is dedicated to supporting that vision. The culture is the setting within which the vision takes hold. In turn, the vision may also determine the characteristics of the organization’s culture. Transformational leaders have been characterized by four separate components or characteristics denoted as the 4 Is of transformational leadership.

These four factors include idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Transformational leaders integrate creative insight, persistence and energy, intuition and sensitivity to the needs of others to “forge the strategyculture alloy” for their organizations. In contrast, transactional leaders are characterized by contingent reward and management-byexception styles of leadership. In a highly innovative and satisfying organizational culture we are likely to see transformational leaders who build on assumptions such as: people are trustworthy and purposeful; everyone has a unique contribution to make; and complex problems are handled at the lowest level possible. Leaders who build such cultures and articulate them to followers typically exhibit a sense of vision and purpose.

 

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