Soft Skills in the Field Service Industry: CreativityBy My Service Depot on Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Though not traditionally associated with business or the field service industry, your company should value and cultivate creativity.
As we continue our deep dive into the soft skills you should look for and cultivate in the field service industry, we will talk about the creativity subset of soft skills. Often, people don’t normally think of creativity as a soft skill, preferring to think of the traditional definition, “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” However, if you define creativity from a business standpoint, we can say that creativity is “the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems and communicating with others.” This definition clearly positions creativity as one of the most important soft skill subsets.
The two facets of creativity that we will discuss today are innovation and open mindedness. These two ideas almost go hand in hand. Without one of the two, it’s harder to have the other.
Innovation involves making changes to something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. Innovation does not have to be an uphill battle. A team that constantly looks for ways to improve their process and products can easily gain the upper hand and stay on the cutting edge of the industry. Innovation must be an all-hands-on-deck mindset for everyone in the company, from the owner all the way down to the newest employee.
Employees that receive encouragement to talk about their ideas will often share them. When you have employees who keep an eye out for ways to improve something, ideas will start to flow more naturally and freely. If your company does not value innovation, employees become less likely to share observations or ideas on how to improve the overall product or process. This will inevitably lead to processes or products that are not fully polished or optimized.
More often than not, people do not consider themselves innovative. However, one can become more innovative by simply asking the question “can I make this better?” Even if the answer is “no,” as time passes you might develop a different perspective on some things, turning that “no” into a “yes.”
An open mind does not come easily to everyone, yet this trait can have an impact on a day beyond what most people realize. Open-mindedness can be defined as “being open to new ideas, experiences, theories, people, and ways of living.” It means adopting a fair and respectful attitude towards opinions, beliefs, and practices that differ from one’s own. For some people, that can be difficult. As we have established, many people have a hard time changing their opinions on topics and people. The biggest advantage to keeping an open mind is the ability to “go with the flow.” This allows for adaptation when something new happens at work or in your home life.
Many unexpected things can impact your day, but remaining open minded ensures that you have the best day possible. Let’s look at a common scenario in the workplace; your boss announces that a new process will begin. Those with an open mind can look at the announcement and how it will help the company. The person without an open mind will generally go straight to pushing back against what they do not like or understand. When you work for a company, you should always keep the mindset, “what is good for the company is good for me.” Even if a new process disrupts your routine in the short term, if it leads to more business, you’ll ultimately participate in the spoils.
What else can you do to help yourself while you travel down the path to open mindedness? Try these suggestions:
- Do not react in anger when others have different opinions. Instead, ask questions and start a conversation to help put yourself in their shoes. You never know what someone else may be going through.
- Get out of your comfort zone. People do not grow as fast if they do not expand their horizons. Sometimes that can be as simple as trying a new food or even taking a different route to work.
- Ask questions! This is basically the same step as number one. Learn more about others or the issue at hand.
Those three simple practices can help you avoid reacting with a closed mind and help you grow as a person.
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