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Like most business owners, you probably wish there was more time in the day. Finding a balance between meeting the necessary deadlines and saving space being creative can be difficult. But creativity in business is essential, and losing it means losing innovation, efficiency, and (ultimately) revenue.
Therefore, it is very important to make room in your business for creative endeavors, especially considering three quarters of small business owners said inflation impacted their bottom line between July 2021 and July 2022, and 56% expect they will experience a loss until at least summer 2023. Creative decisions can mean the difference between financial success and failure.
From a survey of over a thousand executives, Deloitte found that so-called “fast-growing brands” are more likely to value creative ideas as part of long-term success. These brands—as opposed to brands with less measured growth—are also more likely to intentionally create an environment that encourages creative thinking and mutual collaboration. Creativity is a key driver of innovation that ultimately determines a company’s growth over time.
One of the common reasons why business owners struggle to find time to be creative is because they hire people but don’t delegate effectively. As an owner, you cannot handle everything alone. While it is important to ensure quality, you must find a way to delegate tasks if you want to maintain balance, stability, and creativity. Research from the Annual Review of Psychology shows that we need time for our brains to wander between tasks in order to reach our full creative potential. However, it’s hard to find the time when you try to do it all on your own.
The simple truth is that a business cannot grow if its owner is obsessed with micromanaging every aspect of the organization. Instead of being scattered, focus on the part of your role that brings the most value, prioritize it, and let it grow. Delegate tasks and share authority where possible. Target? A company that can work without your constant control, leaving you space for new hobbies and creative ideas.
Qualities that make up an effective system and leave room for creativity
As a leader, you must strive to create systems that will help you find more creative space instead of more tasks for your list. Here’s where you should focus your efforts:
Regular processes allow you to control various aspects of the business and maintain quality without going into every detail. Not only can bad or inefficient systems or strategies lead to chaos and wasted capital, efficient processes also mean you spend more time doing what you’re good at, getting creative and making better strategic decisions.
A great start would be to improve the day-to-day procedures that keep your company running. Successful processes are evidentcan be reproduced and documented, have supporting tools and are easily accessible.
Well-designed and well-implemented systems (including financial, technology, marketing, HR, and operational systems) create a consistent experience for customers and employees and make your business run more smoothly. Specify processes, map out how things should be done, and suggest ways to improve them, saving you time and energy that you could spend elsewhere.
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The big challenge in creating more space for creativity is clearly defining tasks for each team member. You should have a clear job description for every position in your organization. As your company grows, you will delegate tasks to many people, and defining roles will help you manage your payroll more effectively, set performance expectations, and map out opportunities for innovation.
Ideally assigned roles are critical for businesses because, according to LinkedIn, inefficient management can lead to lower morale and budget overruns. This can show up in poor planning or role definition, or more personal things like failure to coach or innovate within roles. Counter this trend by clearly defining the scope of your team’s work.
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Once you have defined the roles in your company, you can assign certain required skills to each of them. By clarifying which skills are valued and required for each role, you empower your employees to focus their time and effort on the skills that will most help them grow in their role. By reducing their focus, you free up more time and space for innovation and creativity.
Skill assignment also ensures that you hire the most qualified candidates and assign them to the most productive roles in your organization. Skills testing should also be an important part of hiring. McKinsey says that 87% employers see current or potential skill gaps in their companies. Skill testing and refinement can help close these gaps.
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The best way to create an effective organizational structure is to design it before you need it. As with streamlining systems and defining roles, providing an organizational structure means employees spend less time getting confused and more time doing the important work you hired them to do. Progress will stop if an employee has a question and doesn’t know where to ask the answer. Provide structure and reduce confusion.
Toyota is a great example of how structure can impact time management. Toyota Production System (TPS)
is a program that embraces the entire practice and philosophy of Toyota, from sourcing materials to interacting with customers. TPS has been a key factor in the development of “lean manufacturing” focused on manufacturing efficiency. The right systems will help you prioritize and manage your time so you have the freedom to work on growing your business with creative solutions, not just keeping it going.
One way to quickly simplify inefficiencies is to remove unnecessary steps in company procedures. Auditing is one way to achieve this, but automation is another modern solution. Automation can identify and solve company growth problems, reduce wastage of resources in poorly designed systems, and maximize profits.
As a business leader, your priorities should be delivering amazing customer results, maintaining a healthy corporate culture, and finding innovative growth opportunities. By streamlining the systems, processes and roles in your company, you spend less time managing and more time doing what you do best.