The John Maxwell leadership training center shares an excellent article in looking ahead to challenges of 2018.  It focuses on how leaders should foster an improved spirit of creativity in their organizations.

Negative environments kill thousands of great ideas every minute—ideas your company needs to stay competitive. Your leaders and managers are the ones who choose to cultivate a creative workplace environment or to stifle new ideas before they can grow.   So what are your managers doing to cultivate the creative instincts of your employees? Here are 7 ways leaders can intentionally cultivate the kind of creative culture where ideas flow freely:

1. Encourage creativity: Studies show that people are naturally creative but often feel as if they need permission to express that creativity.

2.Place a high value on trust: Creativity always risks failure. That’s why your leaders must demonstrate they trust their team members to be creative.

3.Embrace those who are most creative: Pull them into brainstorming sessions. Most people often look forward to invitations to such meetings because the time is filled with energy, ideas, and laughter.

4.Focus on innovation, not just invention: Often the best way for people on your team to contribute in a creative way is to imagine innovative applications, not create completely new concepts.

5.Place a high value on options: Creative people are “other” thinkers. They are always thinking about and looking for other ways of doing things because they know that options bring opportunities.

6.Be willing to let people go outside the lines: Most people automatically stay within lines. But if your leaders want teams to be more creative, challenge boundaries.

7.Appreciate the power of a dream: A creative environment promotes the freedom of a dream. Martin Luther King, Jr.declared to millions, “I have a dream,” not “I have a goal.” Goals may give focus, but dreams give power. Dreams expand the world.