• Greg Ellis

The person who doesn't "get it" is just the person you need to get

When you are embarking on any sort of training process that doesn't involve role specific skills and is a little more holistic there is always the risk that there will be a lack of buy-in and general grumping form some who "don't see how this is relevant to me." This is never more prevalent than when doing something like creativity training.

When confronted with the prospect of a workshop that looks less at business processes and more at creative processes there can often be curmudgeonly push back along the lines of, "I don't see how this is relevant," "What's this got to do with me?", "What a waste of time/money/both!" It's those very people that are exactly the people you need to capture. The more push back like this there is in your organisation the more this type of training is necessary if you want to be a business that does more than just pay lip service to words like "creativity" and "innovation". If you've got a team of folk who are prepared to leap into this sort of stuff with glee then chances are you are some way down the road.

So it's those grumblers that need to be brought onboard because one of the key components to developing creativity in a business culture is that having an open mind. But what a lot of companies do is shy away when this type of resistance shows up. Rather than press on with training (or start it in the first place) they allow resistance to stop exactly the sort of change they really need to make.

Whats going on with those people? It is a bit rude to class them all as grumps and curmudgeons. Over my many years of doing this sort of training I've found that their resistance often comes from a couple of reasons:

  1. They fear looking stupid. They aren't sure if they'll be any good at it and would rather not take the risk. To really create something you have to go out on a limb. This sort of training isn't like abseiling off a tall building - if someone isn't good at, say, an improv exercise they won't die. So the actual risk isn't that great. But they need to experience that sense of failure and recovery in a supportive environment to recapture that joy of creativity.

  2. They fear change. Things are fine with the way they are going right now and anything else will just muck that up. A willingness to change, and change rapidly and often is one of the things that really creates a creative energy in a group of people.

  3. They don't understand the need for it. If you want to have an environment that fosters creativity many people really need to understand why the change is important. Articulating that is a great test of how well you can actually start that journey as a business. If you can't articulate it to everyone then there's still work to do.

There are often all sorts of other things wrapped up in the resistance but it is an absolute example of "if pain persists, call a doctor". They need to be part of a training process much more than the willing. But that process needs to be something that is specific to them - it needs to feature their organisational language, refer to their industry and acknowledge the end goal. Just throwing bean bags around in a circle or banging drums is not going to necessarily do that. And it may be that this is exactly what their experience of creativity training has been in the past - generic, off-the-rack products that have been delivered in a 100 different places.

Just because a training piece has been delivered in such a large number of places does not make it successful for all. We've found that spending a bit of time with the clients you are going to be training is an investment more than worth making. Finding out what terminology exists, what tools there are already within the business, what the current culture is and what the desired culture will be have all really aided us in delivering impactful training.

We like to make our training programmes feel part of your business rather than part of ours. We think that this goes a long way to easing the resistance of those people that "don't get it" because they really are the ones you need to get - not only get onboard but get as individuals.

#training #creativity #improvisation

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