You want to get ahead in your career, right? You've reached a competency level that you feel warrants a promotion and more responsibility but does your manager agree?
In a 2010 study by the American Management Association, workers are asked to do more with less to progress. Employees need to think critically, solve problems, innovate, collaborate, and communicate more effectively—and at every level within an organization.
When asked why they believe these skills and competencies are taking on critical importance in the business environment, 91% rated the pace of change in business today as the leading cause, followed by global competitiveness, the nature of how work is accomplished today, and the way organizations are structured. But, where do you go to gain experience, even mastery, in those areas?
Think about the last time you were in art class. Did you hate it? That's ok. Think of another time that you allowed yourself to create; simply create. Without fear of judgement or reprisal, you allowed yourself the freedom to play with new ideas with complete abandon. It's been proven that when we exercise our brain instead of constantly exposing them to routine tasks and familiar solutions, we build new critical thinking competencies.
If you're one of the few who has not seen the infamous talk given by John Cleese on Creativity in Management, the concept of carving out time to be silly, free and creative may be new to you. I hear you saying, "I don't have time to allow my mind to wander. Daydreaming is frowned upon at work for some reason."
No one will hand you time in order for you to do many of the things we consider important for ourselves. Now is the time for us to put down our 'stupidphone', turn off the television, and allow for our muse to visit in whatever form they may appear.
If business is serious about play and creativity producing a competitive edge through the workforce, we should see more time and resources put in to building those skill sets. Already there are some leaders showing us the way to play at work.
This year, Forbes revealed that a recent study dispelled the idea of the right-brain versus left-brain debate. "What this shows is that the creative brain is wired differently," said Roger Beaty, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Psychology and the first author of the study. "People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don't typically work together.”
And it’s not just that those brain areas work well together in the creative brain, but they also evidence a “flexibility of thought” that stands in contrast to the rigidity common to most brains when faced with creative challenges. "People who think more flexibly and come up with more creative ideas are better able to engage these networks that don't typically work together and bring these systems online."
So, you have permission to dust off that watercolor paint set from 10 years ago, write poetry, plunk some keys on a piano or make knots with fiber or...you tell me. How are you going to play today?