Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace
07 Mar

Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace

creativity employee training and development

With workplaces needing to cut costs and often cut headcount, people need to think differently – and that means getting creative like never before.

 

With the majority of organisations needing to become more efficient and ultimately do more with less, many rush into this without revising old ways of working.  This in turn often leads to stressed employees, missed deadlines, unhappy customers (internal and external), and a wholly unhappy place to be.  We’ve seen many high profile cases of companies going into or almost going into liquidation (HMV, Jessops, Blockbusters, Republic), proving that now more than ever, businesses must keep up to date with changing trends and constantly challenge the way things are done to not only stay current, but profitable too.

 

So how often do we actually stop to think about how to challenge old ways of doing things?  We are all guilty of complaining about there not being enough hours in the day, never enough time to do what is required of us just to keep our heads above water, so the easiest option is of course to just do what we’ve always done.  Getting creative doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it’s simply about considering other ways of doing things.  Sure, it might be that once you have considered other options that the best solution is what you would have done anyway, but if you don’t go through the process you’d never know.

 

Many people consider themselves uncreative.  This can trace right back to childhood, when we were told we couldn’t draw, or our talents lay elsewhere.  Or perhaps as adulthood loomed we put away those childish things and grew up; considering a sensible job, paying the rent / mortgage and other such commitments as the final nails in our creative coffin.  If this sounds like you, consider two things:

 

  1. When was the last time you did something seriously creative?  Either at work or at home, it doesn’t matter.  If you struggle to think of something then it’s not surprising that you feel uncreative.  Creativity is like a muscle, it needs constant exercise or else it withers away.  Classical pianists don’t just become great at playing the piano overnight, it takes constant time and focus (but you’ll be glad to know you don’t need to flex your creative muscle for quite as many hours a day to be great at getting creative!).
  2. Don’t be tempted to think of creativity as blue sky and beanbags.  It’s easy for us to think about what creativity looks like outside of work (arts & crafts, dressmaking, cops & robbers, doctors & nurses!), however when it comes to work creativity can take many forms.  We each have our own unique preferences when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing.  Some people will prefer to think through options themselves whilst others will thrive on the energy of a group discussion.  You may also prefer structured and methodical ways of coming up with new ideas or more abstract methods.  Either way it’s important to identify your own preferred approach, so take some time to identify this.

 

There are a myriad of different tools and techniques out there that can help you to get creative.  Below we offer one for generating new ideas (it’s probably the best known of the lot but that doesn’t mean it’s always used the way it should be!), and one for whittling down your long list of creative options into your few possibles to proceed with.

 

Generating new ideas: Try ‘Brainstorming’

Whoa there!  Before you skip past this bit thinking you know about brainstorming, please read on!  This is arguably the granddaddy of creative thinking tools, but with fame comes mis-use and abuse.  A good brainstorm can be done with groups of people over short or longer time periods depending on what’s being ‘stormed’.  It works because people trigger each others thinking which leads onto constantly new and different or associated ideas and it allows people to think big rather than be restricted…but therein lies the problem with brainstorming.  How many of us have been sat in one of these when each and every suggestion has been subjected to analysis-paralysis or shot down because “that wouldn’t work” or “we’ve tried that before”?

 

So…here are some simple steps to help you to have a successful brainstorm:

  • Have some help – whether it’s a facilitator or a neutral party, try and have someone who can keep things on track and bring everyone back to that big thinking when the debate heats up.
  • What are you brainstorming – make sure everyone is clear on what it is you are trying to generate ideas for.
  • Collect all ideas – capture everything that is offered and spend no time filtering or analysing…that comes later.  This bit is all about quantity over quality.
  • “If you have nothing nice to say…” – by far the hardest part of most brainstorms: keeping a lid on critical evaluation.  Introducing critique at this stage will only stop people from contributing.
  • Brief the ‘rules’ – because brainstorming has been around for so long, most people think it’s easy (which of course it is!)…but you might need to walk through some or all of these steps with your group before you begin, so that everyone is on the same page.

 

Distilling your creative ideas:  Try ‘Negative Selection’

So you’ve gotten creative on how to market your new widget, and you have a list of ideas as long as the combined length of arms in your department.  Maybe a 100 foot plasma billboard suspended above The Thames won’t work, but perhaps it might…!  Essentially, what you are doing here is whittling your list into your no’s and maybe’s, just like you would do when you were considering which breed of dog to adopt or what kind of car to buy.  Be careful not to label the whacky and inventive ideas with a ‘no’ just because they’re whacky and inventive; you could always keep it in the ‘maybe’ pile and come back to it later, or consider if there is a simpler alternative of the idea.  You want to end with a shortlist that has a number of workable and unique ideas, not just a pile of logical, sensible and totally uninspiring ones.

 

So, challenge yourself and your business today.  Think big and think differently…the world is changing and we all need to change with it or get left behind.

 

At Right Trax Training we can help your managers, teams and business to be more creative. Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Two Minute Tips VLOG: How to Develop a Growth Mindset
28 Jan

Two Minute Tips VLOG: How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset employee training and development
A ‘growth mindset’ describes an underlying belief that we can have about learning and our development. When we believe that we can improve, we begin to understand that effort and commitment allows this to happen. Take two minutes to watch our vlog on how to develop this important attribute.
 

 

 

 

Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help your people and your business to develop a growth mindset.

Are YOU Taking Control of YOUR Learning and Development?
04 May

Are YOU Taking Control of YOUR Learning and Development?

employee training and development

It is very easy to expect organisations and managers to provide everything for employee training and development needs, but do we do enough to take control for ourselves?

 

A recent survey by Penna Consultancy shows the disparity between managers’ and employees’ opinions about how they feel they are supported in their career.

 

“91% of managers agree that they support employees with opportunities, definitely or sometimes, despite 29% of employees saying that they don’t.“1

 

This means that one out of every three employees don’t feel supported – not a great place to be. Realistically though, regardless of where your support comes from, who should be owning your learning and development and providing suitable opportunities…you or your manager?

 

How many of these statements do you recognise?

  • I’m waiting to have my review with my manager.
  • There are no training courses I can sign up to at my company.
  • The sign-off process for training is really complicated.
  • There is no budget for development or training courses.
  • I don’t have the time to focus on my development.
  • I don’t know what I can / should do.

 

We can easily pass the buck to someone else; it’s much more difficult to face the truth and take control for yourself. So, what can we do to break these bad habits? How can we start to take back the control?

 

Try these three simple steps:

 

  1. Take some time for self-reflection:
  • Ask yourself what opportunities did you take advantage of and have you created any for yourself? Try completing a SWOT analysis – this is a process of self-analysis and personal reflection of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to personally evaluate your development needs. Download our SWOT template to get started!

 

  1. Identify your goals and aspirations:
  • Consider the goals that are important to you and think about what skills, knowledge and experiences you will need to get there. Find some help on this here in one of our recent blogs.

 

  1. Create your own personal development plan
  • We don’t mean a PDP that you only pay lip service to! Pull everything together to create your own tailored plan. Keep it simple using a straightforward format that can be easily referred to and updated.

 

So the next time you think you haven’t had any development or support from your manager, remember it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. After all “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar

 

At Right Trax Training, we are passionate about helping you to take control! Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.


1 http://www.penna.com/news-and-opinion/news-details/2016/03/23/mind-the-perception-gap

Have You Asked Yourself These 5 Questions About YOUR Development?
13 Apr

Have You Asked Yourself These 5 Questions About YOUR Development?

employee training and development

We get so swamped in the day-to-day that our own personal development is often the first thing to fall by the wayside. It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions!

 

We all have hopes, dreams and ideas for the future; what we would like to be doing, things we would like to have or places we’d like to be, but how often do we actively develop ourselves towards these goals? Or stop to reflect just how near, far or realistic they are?

 

Ask yourself these questions. They’re written in no particular order and we’d love to hear your thoughts on your favourite or other questions that you ask yourself!

 

  1. How much time do you spend developing yourself?

It sounds brilliantly simple in practice: put aside a set amount of time each week / month for your employee training and development…and it is! However, how many of us actually do this? Then, if we do it, how easy it is to keep nudging it back in our calendar when something else needs to take priority! If you have found yourself in this situation, look at other options for self-development, such as great books to dip into when you can, opportunities to develop on-the-job or simply by asking those around you for feedback. How often do you spend some time half-aimlessly meandering the Internet to seek out new ideas? Or take time-out to reflect on how your week has been?

 

  1. Where do you want to get to?

What are you trying to achieve? This is a big question that too few of us seem to contemplate. Once you know what this is, you can then build your goals and targets against this. You can begin to measure your progress against these goals to see a demonstrable shift in your development and your achievements. Understand that we are each in control of our own development; no-one else is going to do it for you. Be empowered to get yourself to where you want to be rather than over-relying on others.

 

  1. How do you best learn?

We see so many people shoe-horned into other people’s way of thinking or learning, rather than simply tuning in to how we each like to learn in different ways. For some, reading a textbook at bedtime will work wonders, sure, but it’s not for everyone. Similarly, many people are fired up by academic study whereas others will find this an extreme challenge. Try to integrate your preferred ways of learning into your approach: whether that’s getting stuck in, reflecting on your approach or searching for valid arguments and counter-arguments to back up your thinking.

 

  1. What’s really important to you?

Our personal values are the characteristics and qualities that form the rules we live by. When we consider our own development, we often forget about our values, leading to many people feeling the need to develop in a way that goes against the grain for them. It’s important to identify your values so that you can make good decisions, otherwise you will lack the drive and motivation to really develop at all.

 

  1. What can you do today that will scare you?

We loved these ‘12 Uncomfortable Things…’ that we recently shared on social media, and it’s true: how often do we truly push our comfort zone to the point of discomfort or fear? As long as we aren’t pushing ourselves to breaking point, this is where the great stuff (i.e. learning) happens!

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What will you do today to take back control of your development and your future?

Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help to support (not own!) your development.

Are Your People on the Right Trax with their Learning and Development?
30 Mar

Are Your People on the Right Trax with their Learning and Development?

employee training and development training consultancy

If you’re a business owner, manager or leader, how happy are you with the employee training and development that you provide?

 

You’re probably aware of how important staff training is to your bottom line and to support your people in working together to bring projects to completion as successfully as possible. The ongoing learning and development of your employees is essential in order to equip them with the skills they need to be as effective as possible. However, how good has the professional training that you have previously invested in really been?

 

The Importance of More Intuitive Learning and Development

It’s no secret that the days of the PowerPoint presentation are (hopefully) numbered. Your businesses employees don’t just need instruction; they need to be enthused about your business and how they can play as significant a part as possible in your ongoing success. As local and international markets grow ever more competitive, it’s simply not okay to strive for tick box staff training anymore.

 

Tailored Development That Matters

At Right Trax Training, we are a training consultancy who focus on creative and participative employee development practices. We make training rewarding. We consult with leaders and managers to help them develop ways of managing and leading employees without removing themselves from the team dynamics. Most importantly, though, we inspire your people to want to develop toward becoming an intrinsic part of your businesses overall success story.

 

Get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Watch our new and improved short video and find out more about the employee training and development that we offer.

 

 

Welcome to the New Look Right Trax Training!
08 Jul

Welcome to the New Look Right Trax Training!

If you’ve ever considered having a bit of a makeover, either personally, for your home or your business, you’ll understand just how difficult it can be; and it’s no easier when you want to do the same for your training consultancy brand and website!

 

A few months ago we realised that it had been three years since launching the first Right Trax Training website, so in a moment of madness we decided it was time to challenge ourselves with creating something that really promotes our philosophy and passions about people and their development. After all, when you believe in something wholeheartedly, how hard can it be(!).

 

Right Trax Training original logo

Our original Right Trax Training logo

 

So, where do you start? There is an absolute wealth of information to help you create a website that is special to you. When you consider how we look for information now, no one uses the telephone directory to look for a plumber, so it’s time companies realise that a website is your shop window. Your website displays who you are, what your values are and what’s important to you as a company and when customers are looking for a quality service or product, then that becomes very important to them and will influence their choices.

 

The first step was to research different styles of websites both within and outside of our own industry. Now this is the part that is not always the most exciting for some of us, especially if you’re technically challenged! However I surprised myself, and whilst I won’t ever be going down the web designer route as a career, I did find that doing the research really helped me to understand the principles of web design and what can or cannot be done.

 

It’s surprising how even the simplest of things can make a difference. Did you know that only 116% of people read web pages word-for-word and that using the 2psychology of colour can increase your website conversions? Neither did I until I started investigating website design. How we managed to do a half-decent job of our last website was a miracle! So once we’d ploughed through the ton of tips, tricks and techniques all we had to do was to apply all this newly found knowledge…easy, right?

 

No, as much as we enjoyed it there were parts that were difficult, painful and frustrating; we brainstormed, planned, created drafts and action plans, procrastinated, got feedback from others, changed our minds and stamped our feet and there were many times where we just wanted to get someone in to write the content for us. Part of this challenge was to break some of the moulds that other websites have; we wanted to be so much more than a few pages of blurb on the Internet that says the same old thing and gives a phone number and email address. After all, if our site was boring and run of the mill, why would our services be any different?

 

We persevered and in the end created a new and much-improved website that we were proud to launch.

 

So, what have been our key learns from this experience?

  • Choose the right web design company. They will be taking your vision to create the site so it’s vital that you have a good relationship with them. Make sure you provide clear directions and set expectations, after all if you don’t tell them what you want they can’t help you to get there! We chose Amica and found them to be friendly, professional and patient. Thanks Ashley and Chris!
  • Research and investigate. Explore other websites, both within your industry as well as outside of it. There are lots of exciting ideas out there, so go and challenge your thinking and be inspired.
  • Take time to understand the technical elements. If you are technically gifted this won’t be an issue, but don’t let this be a barrier if you are not. There are important decisions that you will need to make, so take time to understand the ramifications of them. For example:
    • What platform will you use?
    • How will you host your website?
    • Who will maintain your website?
  • Stop, look and listen. Spend time brainstorming ideas and concepts before diving into the content of the site. Remember, if you don’t know what you want to say you won’t be able to write it!
  • Plan, plan and plan some more. Plan and draft out each page of your website like a storyboard, ensure it is consistent, tells your story and engages those that take time to visit.
  • Remove those blinkers. Get feedback from trusted sources – it’s easy to become blind to your own ideas so use people that you trust to give constructive feedback and really challenge your thinking.
  • The Devil is in the detail. For some of us, getting into the detail is hellish, however it’s important that not only does it look good but everything works properly and makes sense. Check for silly spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, links that don’t work properly and fonts that are inconsistent. These may appear to be small things but they can make a huge difference to how potential clients perceive you as a company.
  • Don’t rest on your laurels. Make sure that you regularly visit your own site to check everything is working and the customers experience is a smooth one. Review your website every 6-12 months to check that everything is still relevant and gives your visitors the correct information.

 

Remember, your website is your shop window and so it needs to show your services and products at their best, so invest the time to develop something that would stop the traffic travelling past it…it’s worth it.

 

So there you have it, our rebranded training consultancy Right Trax Training. Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.

 

1 Nielson Norman Group – http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/
2 https://blog.kissmetrics.com/psychology-of-color-and-conversions/

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