Whether you’ve already build a solid marketing department or are looking to create one, know that there are 3 core habits of any winning team. Those habits have nothing to do with productivity or efficiency; rather they’re all about an innate sense of curiosity, which is the driving force in any creative pursuit. These habits are about how team members interact, how they respond to new stimulus, and what sort of mindset they have. If each member in your team has these habits – or better yet, this disposition – you’re marketing team cannot possibly fail. However, if these habits are foreign to you, you might want to reconsider who is on your team.
It’s no accident that curiosity makes it to #1 on this list. If you’re not habitually curious, then there’s no possible way you’re a creative person. Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand. An exceptional Fast Company article by Faisal Hoque titled “How Curiosity Cultivates Creativity,” shares that “if an idea is the seed of strategy, experience is the seed of an idea.”
This means that in order for us to have an idea, we need to have first had some experience. If you’re not a naturally curious person, you’re unlikely to entertain new experiences in either thought or form. The uncreative person has no imagination and not enough deposits in playful experimentations to come up with the ideas needed to thrive in this marketplace.
So what does curiosity mean in the workplace? It means that you’re traditionally curious (curious about your industry) but also curious outside of your industry. You’re a naturally inquisitive person, you wonder about how things work, you connect dots, and you think of new ways of doing things – no matter how silly or unprofound. In your thousands of daily exploratory thoughts, there’s usually a seed of genius waiting to be cultivated. But creativity alone isn’t enough. In order to cultivate that seed, you’re going to need motivation.
This second habit, existing only in a climate where curiosity precedes it, is about as important a habit as any person can have – let alone someone tasked with the job of coming up with great ideas. Without motivation, you can’t put in the hours that it takes to get the job done. There’s no driving force to push you through challenges and conflicts. And without motivation, you could not possibly claim the next habit.
3. Collaborative Playfulness
A creative marketing team will have a great collaborative synergy. Yet, what does collaboration really mean – or should mean? Here I’m not talking about team members who can have an idea pow wow session, or who can function well enough as parts of a whole in a project. That sort of collaboration is basic. It’s primitive in fact in marketing since real marketing departments need something more than just being able to work together. They need to be able to play together.
The playful person favors a back and forth banter, an exchange ideas and sharing of information without necessarily any intent toward a goal. Sure, team members might do this when tasked with a project, but are they doing it outside the scope of an assignment? A team of mutually curious marketers will, by nature, engage in collaborative playfulness even when there’s no work to be done – simply because that’s their nature.
They will also have a strong network. Going back to curiosity and the “seed of experience”, naturally curious marketers will have a strong network from which they draw experience. Naturally playful and collaborative people frequently have feelers going out in every direction, seeking new stimulus, new source of ideas, new inspiration, and new pools to draw from. They’ll be exploring those pools, playing with ideas, and then bringing that back to the table when it’s time to work. Collaborative playfulness is a natural state of mind and an easy one to look for during an interview process. In a non-linear conversation with a potential new hire, just look to see how many outside ideas they can bring to the table.
To pair creativity with function, team members should also have an entrepreneurial spirit. However, this doesn’t qualify as a habit so much as it is a disposition. In a nutshell, an entrepreneurial team is looking to create new models, develop a strategy, and be willing to risk investment in an idea. It also means that unlike the stereotypes associated with creative minds, ones that underscore a romantic and undirected personality incapable of strategy, an entrepreneurial mind will always have a big picture in mind. They’ll understand that creativity is a tool and playfulness is a way to keep that tool sharp.
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