Often when we are in trouble, we buckle down and try to work our way out of it. And that can be helpful when the problem is one of quantity – not enough bricks, not enough sales calls, etc.
But more often than not, the issue we face as companies or individuals is qualitative instead of quantitative. And in those instances, it’s creativity that counts – coming up with a better product, making a better sales pitch, finding a new way to connect with customers, new ideas for lowering costs, etc.
As Daniel Pink explains brilliantly in his book “Drive,” for qualitative issues, hard work is not very helpful. Instead, what helps is creating space and motivation for creativity.
How many people have faced this scenario: a pressing problem stares you in the face, so you sit down and think hard to find a creative solution. Not much comes. Dejected, you leave your desk and head home, vowing to hit it harder the next day. Then, in the shower that next morning, between thoughts of breakfast and what train to catch, the solution comes to you.
That is creating space for creativity.
So next time, instead of chaining yourself to your desk to find a solution, think about the problem a little bit, then go out for a walk or coffee or call a good friend about nothing in particular and see if something sprouts up in that space.
Don’t work harder.