Last post I wondered a little bit about how could a company give enough freedom to their employees so they can create their creative environment and do a better job. After posting, I began pondering some starting points, or directives, which could help a company walk in that direction.
First, I would like to bold that in the creative process, there should be no deadlines or that will kill it from the root. But, I didn't forget that in the real world, we need to interact with other companies and people with which we must sign contracts, and that they unfortunately have deadlines. What a paradox! Companies need money to survive. They get their money from their contracts. The contracts sets deadlines to the company's works. The creative process that leads to a great product demands that deadlines should not exist. So, how could we tackle this issue and have at least a better approach?
As I said before, I tried to set some starting points or directives based on the kind of work I'm into, and wondering that it could be totally or partially applied to most other areas.
So, lets state now that inside the company there should be no deadlines. Deadlines are capital offense, as John Cleese has stated.
Then, instead of setting a deadline, what about setting quality goals? Sometimes, with a tight deadline people tends to chose the "enough for the moment" approach on solving problems. Maybe, if we begin by setting quality goals, then we are virtually setting a deadline. How is that? With a reasonable quality goal, you can deliver a great project without the need of having people wondering of better possible solutions for ever. If you set a quality goal, people will try their best to reach that, with no deadline. But, to make then deliver on the deadline, you set an ambitious goal that you think can be achieved in the time frame you've got. But please, don't do contracts with tight deadlines. If you do that, you're shooting your foot anyway, and the whole theory for creativity process is not for you.
Then I wondered: That is not the solution by itself. Otherwise, it would be too easy, uh? ;-)
How to avoid the employee from getting stock somewhere, and help him on his creative evolvement? Perhaps starting the quality goals definition by brainstorming the product and it's requirements. Then, that could already leverage some ideas that would inspire the employee and put him in a nice stand to begin his work and save some precious time.
But, that is just the beginning. During the project, the employee could get stucked in something we didn't wondered in the beginning. At this moment, is where I think that two (or more) heads thinks better. Never found yourself deep in something, and got stucked lacking more ideas? What you need is fresh air, and fresh ideas. Perhaps just steping the next door and share the difficulties with the neighbor would help give the person that fresh air and ideas needed. Perhaps a coaching team could also come by and help by providing some more brainstorming, ideas... Perhaps the coaching team could find out that the person went the wrong way, and could put him back on track. Perhaps, a walk in the park or a nice sleep could help on that also. If we can't set a deadline, then all we've got left is improving our capabilities, save time on the process and create a clean and free highway to creativity so it can come as better and quick as possible.
Another essencial thing to have a nice job done: information. If you're willing to delive a good product, leave your employees absolutely aware of what you need, or what yor client needs. All the documentation, charts, goals descriptions, requirements, meetings, brainstorming, etc just looks like not enough when we want to get everyone perfectly aware of our needs and engaged on that goal. Here you must use your creativity to have the information delivered as expected to all people related to the product creation.
I know this is not enough to change a company culture, but perhaps this could make someone think and thus it would serve as a nice starting point ;-)