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Guest Opinion: Think before you how


By Kelly Eagle | Account manager, Shift Interactive

I recently attended a leadership conference, and one of the speakers, in a flurry of words and ideas, tossed in this nugget: Creativity dies at the word “how.” He quickly moved on to another topic, but I couldn’t. 

No matter what industry you work in, creativity is key. Architects need creativity. Chefs need creativity. Sales people need creativity. Developers need creativity. 

This got me thinking about how I approach new ideas and different perspectives. I like to believe that I’m a free thinker and open to creative solutions, but I’m also a realist, so anything “too far” out there makes me a skeptic. In my retrospection, I realized that often when a colleague brings a new idea to the table, I immediately begin to question and try to poke holes in the idea. While this typically begins internally, body language or a lack of engagement can make it tricky to mask any skepticism we might have about an idea. And because of that, it can quickly take over the conversation, leading the idea’s owner feeling skeptical about their own contributions to the company.

As soon as someone feels their ideas aren’t valued, the pool of creativity will begin to dry up. The suggestions will come less often, and the spark that was once there will quickly begin to fade. From an employee perspective, this is disheartening and frustrating and will lead to turnover and poor culture. From a client perspective, no one wants to work with an agency that doesn’t bring unique ideas to the table, or with a company that can’t create a solution to solve a particular company challenge. 

In order to encourage creative thinking to foster new ideas and unique approaches to problems, it’s important to approach every new idea with an open mind and positive spirit. When a new idea is presented, consider it before you begin to how it. 

Kelly Eagle is an account manager at Shift Interactive in West Des Moines. She’s a graduate of Iowa State University and lives in Waukee with her husband and two daughters. She serves on the Grand Cru for Winefest, as well as on the Waukee Public Library Board of Trustees. Contact Kelly via email.

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