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Like most entrepreneurs, you probably wish there was more time in the day. Finding the balance between meeting necessary deadlines and keep space being creative can be hard. But creativity in business is essential, and if you lose it, you miss out on innovation, efficiency, and (eventually) revenue.
So it’s vital to carve out some space in your business for creative endeavours, especially when you think about it three quarters of small entrepreneurs said inflation affected their business results between July 2021 and July 2022, and 56% expect to feel the bottlenecks at least by summer 2023. Creative solutions can mean the difference between financial success and failure.
In a survey of over 1,000 executives, Deloitte found that so-called “high-growth brands” are more likely to value creative ideas as part of long-term success. These brands – unlike those with less measured growth – will also be more likely to intentionally create an environment that fosters creative thinking and collaboration. Creativity is a key factor in innovation, which ultimately determines a company’s growth over time.
A common reason business owners struggle to find creative time for themselves is that they hire people but don’t delegate effectively. As an owner, you cannot do everything alone. While it’s important to ensure quality, you’ll need to 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 to fully realize our creative potential. However, it’s hard to find that time when you try to do everything yourself.
The simple truth is that a business cannot grow if its owner is micromanaging every facet of the organization. Instead of spreading yourself thin, focus on the part of your role that adds the most value, prioritize it and let it grow. Delegate tasks and share authority where you can. The target? A company that can function without your constant supervision, giving you the space to bring in new passion and creative ideas.
The qualities that form an efficient system and leave room for creativity
As a leader, you should try to build systems that help you find more creative space instead of more tasks for your list. This is where you should focus your efforts:
Regular processes allow you to oversee different aspects of the business and maintain quality without micro-managing every detail. Not only can poor or inefficient systems or strategies lead to chaos and loss of capital, but having efficient processes means you spend more time doing what you do best, being creative and making better strategic decisions.
A good start would be to improve the daily routines that keep your business running. Successful processes are obviouscan be replicated and documented, have supporting tools and are easily accessible.
Well-designed and well-implemented systems—including financial, technology, marketing, people, and operations—create consistent experiences for customers and employees and help your business run more smoothly. Concrete processes, outlining how things should be done and providing a way to improve them, saving you time and energy that you can spend elsewhere.
Related: How to use the Marie Kondo approach to workflows and processes
A major challenge in creating more room for creativity is having well-defined tasks for everyone on the team. You must have a clear job description for each role in your organization. As your business grows, you’ll be delegating tasks to many employees, and having defined roles will help you manage payroll more effectively, set performance expectations, and outline innovation opportunities.
Perfectly assigned roles are crucial for business, because according to LinkedIn ineffective management can lead to low morale and budget overruns. This can manifest itself in poor planning or role definition or more personal things like the failure to coach or innovate within roles. Go against this trend by clearly defining your team’s scope of work.
Related: What if a boss and an employee switch roles? We tried.
After you define your company’s roles, you can assign specific, necessary skills to each role. By clarifying what skills are valued and required in 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 narrowing their focus, you free up more time and space for innovation and creativity.
Skill mapping also ensures that you hire the best qualified candidates and place them in the most productive roles for your organization. Skills testing should also be an important part of hiring. McKinsey says so 87% of employers identify current or potential gaps in their business. Testing and clarifying skills can help close those gaps.
Related: How to acquire soft skills and measure them successfully
The best way to create an effective organizational structure is to design it before you need it. Similar to system optimization and role definition, providing an organizational structure ensures that employees are less confused and spend more time on the important work they were hired to do. Progress stops when an employee has a question and doesn’t know where to ask for the answer. Provide structure and reduce confusion.
Toyota is a good example of how structure can influence time management. The Toyota Production System (TPS)
is a program that encompasses all of Toyota’s practices and philosophies, from material sourcing to customer interactions. TPS was a key factor in the development of lean manufacturing, which focuses on efficiency in production. The right systems help you prioritize and manage your time, giving you the freedom to develop your business with creative solutions rather than simply maintaining it.
One way to quickly simplify inefficiencies is to remove unnecessary steps in business procedures. An audit is one way to achieve this, but automation is another modern solution. Automation can identify and solve business growth problems, reduce wasted resources in poorly designed systems, and maximize profits.
As a business leader, your priorities should be achieving amazing customer outcomes, maintaining a healthy company culture and finding innovative growth opportunities. By optimizing the systems, processes and roles in your company, you spend less time managing and more time doing what you do best.