The art of managing creativity in teams is a theme that cuts across all sectors in today's accelerated business domain. Nowadays we understand more than ever that an organisation's most valuable asset is a committed team capable of alchemising ideas into valuable products and services. The role of management is critical in creating the kind of workplace culture which both encourages and rewards innovation. Steve Jobs' style, for example, might be characterised as sharp and provocative (although respectful of excellence) whereas Pixar’s John Lasseter demonstrated his drive in a different way, gentle and fun, nurturing his team rather than challenging them. Mostly likely further adjectives spring to mind when you attempt to typify other management styles you have experienced.
On the left Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, partner in 37signals (Image via)
In a recent interview, Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Chicago-based software company 37signals, opens up about some of the innovative work practices he's managed to instil as part of the company culture including 4-day working weeks in the summer (definitely a good one), preventing employees from burning out and about the metrics that matter: "Are you profitable? Are you building something great? Are you taking care of your people? Are you treating your customers well? In the coverage of our industry as a whole, you’ll rarely see stories about treating customers well, about people building a sustainable business."
In these times of diminutive economic growth, the goal of putting people and profit on at least an equal footing becomes one that is more hard-won. Going on the evidence of this interview alone, 37signals is just such an example of a business run in a humane manner for both employee and customer alike. [Source: Fast Company]