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Managing Creative People - Essay Example

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The work of a manager these days is not easy, but it can be exciting especially if one works with creative people and the survival of the company depends on the output of creative people working with you.


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Managing Creative People
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Download file to see previous pages Creativity means many things to many people, and it is not only found in engineering, art, and design teams within the company. It can also be found in finance and in sales and marketing, even in seemingly mundane jobs as administration, records-keeping, and logistics, now called supply chain management, a creative way of describing a complex process that is fast becoming a source of competitiveness (Tan, 1998).
Creativity can be useful in developing new products, but it also helps save costs (see those suggestion boxes scattered all over the office), time, and jobs, raise revenues, increase output, motivate people, discover new customers, and keep old ones.
In fact, the problem really lies not in making people exercise creativity, because they are normally eager to exercise this power that most humans possess. The real problems are: first, how to ensure that they exercise useful creativity; second, how to choose which of the 'creative' solutions will work; third, how to 'manage' the creative process so that those whose ideas are not accepted do not stop being creative; and fourth, how to turn creative ideas into profits for the company and its stockholders (Lapierre and Giroux, 2003).

In this paper, we attempt to suggest concrete strategies to solve the problems of managing employee creativity with a few basic rules based on several decades of experience of what works and what do not work.
We will refer to articles in journals, periodicals, and management classics from authors who have proven themselves in the past as competent managers.
But before we begin, we need to keep two points very clear in our minds.
First, we consider only an organization filled with people like you and me who think, breathe, move, and have the minimum of intelligence to be employed. These pointers on managing creativity may not work, for example, in a penitentiary work detail, or in a firm where the workers are "challenged" in one way or another. For examples like those, we need different models of management.
Second, the creative people we want to manage are human beings whom we assume to be motivated to do well and contribute to the world by earning a decent living. Therefore, we are not talking of criminals or cult members who exercise their creativity in ways that are not considered normal.
In other words, we want to discuss how to manage a group of psychologically balanced people who are intelligent and highly motivated to exercise exceptional levels of creativity in their ordinary work, a task that by itself is tough enough and guaranteed to make any well-intentioned manager challenged and equally creative.
The Rules of Creative Engagement
How does an ordinary manager handle creative workers We can follow a few basic rules.
Don't Fake It
Before he was hired as IBM's CEO, Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. was a McKinsey & Company consultant, then an executive in a company that sold credit cards (Amex), biscuits, and cigarettes (RJR Nabisco). Tapped to turn around one of the best technology companies, he admitted in his first interview for the job that he was not qualified because he lacked the technical background (Gerstner, 2002, p. 10). In fact, one of the first pieces of advice he got from his older brother (a retired IBM ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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