How to transform your team into high-performing, creative thinkers
Creative thinking isn’t only for artists and writers. Like most industries, real estate is about solving problems – for your vendors, buyers and agents – and coming up with those solutions comes down to your ability to think creatively.
Recent research* found that while 98 per cent of children aged 3-5 ranked as “geniuses” in divergent thinking, only 2 per cent of adults achieved the same status. So unfortunately, unless you’re one of the rare two per cent, it’s likely your creativity will decline with age.
The good news is there are many things you can do to strengthen the creative environment in your office and encourage your agents to generate new solutions to old problems.
Here are our top seven tips to improve creative thinking in your agency.
1. Get an early start
According to a 2014 study by the Creativity Group, which assessed the creative habits of marketing and advertising executives, 72 per cent of respondents said they felt at their most creative in the morning. Set aside time first thing in the morning to do your big thinking, and schedule staff brainstorming sessions during the pre-lunch hours.
2. Embrace the new
New ideas are the lifeblood of creative thinking. From 3D ocular tours to image-recognition technology, new ideas and technology are constantly powering the latest trends in real estate marketing. It’s important to keep pace with new ways of doing things and embrace a flexible approach to the way you manage your business. Getting stuck in an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mindset will destroy creative thinking within your team and put your agency behind the eight ball.
3. Rethink your office layout
Open-plan office design came into vogue during the ’90s as the ideal habitat for a creative workforce. However, recent studies are telling a very different story. Setting your team free from desk-bound work appears to be the key to boosting their creativity. Provide your agents with communal workspaces that foster collaborative problem-solving, while also offering private work areas for high-concentration tasks. Staff who work from home have also been found to be far more productive, cost-effective and experience less sick days.
4. Improve your brainstorming sessions
Group brainstorming has long been heralded as a key creative thinking tool, but not all brainstorming sessions are created equal. Creative thinking shouldn’t mean disorganised thinking, and brainstorming shouldn’t be a wild free-for-all. Clearly define the problem up for discussion, give your agents a few minutes for private thought, then organise their responses into logical themes to keep the session on track.
5. Set clear deadlines
Giving your agents endless freedom to come and go as they please isn’t the perfect formula for creative thinking. Rather, set clear deadlines for your team. Working under pressure often encourages the mind to take a different perspective to find a solution that may have otherwise remained buried. Though it’s important to be realistic about your deadlines. Putting your agents under undue stress will likely shut down their creativity altogether.
6. Press play for a creativity boost
Silence is not golden. A 2015 study by the University of Helsinki Finland, revealed that listening to classical music may have a positive effect on creativity. Scientists noted that dopamine secretion and synaptic transmission were improved in participants while listening to classical music, and that it may even boost memory and learning ability. Use a streaming-music service to create a playlist of creativity-inducing classical tunes for your office.
7. Use software to increase creativity
Creativity is driven by information and collaboration. Agents who excel at creative selling need fast access to customer data. Use CRM software that is optimised for a mobile sales team via smartphones and tablets to encourage high levels of collaboration. Likewise, the right digital marketing software provides the platform your team needs to execute their creative ideas and take their game – and yours – to the next level.
Campaigntrack can connect you with the latest creativity-boosting tools and advice. Contact us today to find out how.
* Who Killed Creativity and How to Get it Back, by Andrew and Gaia Grant.