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Victims of Sandy Hook

Stop the Slaughter of Innocents. Congress is bought and paid for by gun lunatics and gun promotion groups. If you want to live in a safe America, help buy Congress back for America. Send a donation to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 909 Third Avenue, 15th Floor New York, NY 10022

Promote a Creativity Culture

Creativity has great rewards for companies that encourage creativity. Unfortunately, most companies don't promote a creativity culture. Most employees work in a company where if they try any original thinking and it doesn't work out, they'll be punished. Most employees work in a company where all their time is wasted on company bureaucracy: meetings, training, reporting, etc.

Promoting a creativity culture requires giving authority to employees to make decisions about how to accomplish a result. When I was a manager, many times I found that an employee was not using the method that I explained, they were doing it wrong. Sometimes I had to correct them because the assignment was too important to risk.

But most of the time I just let them do it wrong. I let them fail so that they could learn. Sometimes they didn't fail, it just took a little longer for them to accomplish the assignment. After all, it's the result that counts, not so much the method used to achieve the result. But other times, it was I who did the learning, because the employee found a new more efficient way to achieve the same result.

Granting authority to employees requires extending trust. Trust them to make intelligent decisions. Be less specific in the details of your assignments. Let the employee pick the color, the shape etc. Let the employee choose the method to accomplish an assignment. The most difficult employee to trust is one that you deem to be lazy. I found that lazy people find ingenious ways to avoid work, and in that, sometimes they find new more efficient ways to achieve the same results.

Most employees work in a company where all their time is wasted on company bureaucracy, or "putting out fires" while at work. That's why most creative ideas occur while traveling to or from work, or while relaxing at home, not while at work.

That's why when I was the manager of an electronics engineering department, I told my employees that it was okay to take electronic parts home (within reason). Any tinkering they did at home could only cause them to learn things that would make them more productive at work, and that would have a much greater value to the company than the electronic parts they took home.

At the the 3M company they have a program called "15 percent time". Their employees are required to spend 15 percent of their time working on anything other than their work assignment. During his 15 percent times, Chemist Spencer Silver invented Post-It Notes. Almost everyone, including myself, uses and loves Post-It Notes. The same adhesive used on Post-Its was adapted to many other products from medical bandages to interior-decorating kits. Thanks partly to their 15 percent time, 3M is a giant multinational corporation with more than 22,800 patents, 50,000 innovative products, and more than $20 billion in annual revenue.

And 3M is not the only the only company to give their employees the time and authority to be creative. Google has a program called Google Labs where employees can use 20 percent of their time to play around with their ideas. This has resulted in Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Alerts, Google Docs, Google Reader, Android, Google+, and many other products. Google is a $37.9 billion in annual revenue corporation.

Creativity has great rewards for companies that encourage creativity. Unfortunately, most companies feel that they can't afford to give their employees the time and authority to be creative. They can't afford to promote a creativity culture. The fact of the mater is that, in today's competitive market place, companies can't afford not to.

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