Be a Problem Solver...Not an Order Taker

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the IABC/SC Mini Conference. As someone who is a big believer in life-long learning and professional development, I was thrilled to step away from my computer for the day. In addition to winning a door prize (free registration to the fall conference - YAY!), the content was on point.

One presenter who really stood out to me was Tim Floyd from Palmetto Health who spoke to all of us “creatives” in the room. Here are some of the key take-a-ways:

·      There’s no such thing as boring projects, only boring people.

·      Are you an order taker OR a problem solver?

·      How can a client already know what they want when they can’t even really state the problem?

·      Don’t be afraid of bad ideas. They represent creativity in process.

·      Be the creative. Don’t wait for others to ask for it.

As communicators, especially those of you who may work within a nonprofit, we often get bogged down in our to-do lists and don’t take enough time to think creatively, to reframe a current project we are working on, or to simply get ourselves away from the computer and out into the community, which can oftentimes be the best creativity juice booster there is.

So next time someone asks for a simple flyer for an event, think bigger. Tim talked about the time a staff person came to him wanting to encourage people to take the stairs because he didn’t feel like other employees even knew where the stairs were located. The person wanted a flyer. After figuring out the employees did, in fact, know where the stairs were, they just needed some coaxing to use them, Tim gave them a complete marketing campaign centered around being healthy. He added funny quotes and fun facts to the actual stairs, made infomercials about the importance of taking the stairs, and created contests that gave employees monetary incentives if they were "caught in the act" of taking the stairs. Employees loved it! People were taking the stairs just to see the signs and read the quotes. If Tim had simply created the flyer as asked, would the same results have ensued? Absolutely not. So his message is an important one…

BE A PROBLEM SOLVER…NOT AN ORDER TAKER! 

By: Cayci Banks, Communications Specialist