MANAGING FOR CREATIVITY
By Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight
In order to better understand the concept of « managing for creativity », we were asked to read and to analyse an article written by Richard Florida, (an American urban studies theorist and a professor of policy in Virginia) and Jim Goodnight, (SAS CEO). Together, they tried to show us how a prosperouscompany is run through the « managing for creativity » policy, using the example of SAS, a software company.
The objectives and results of the « managing for creativity » application proves to be clear. First of all, the main goals of a company have always been to increase productivity and efficiency as well as to satisfy customers by supplying them with valuable products.
According to both theauthors and us, the only efficient way to succeed is to encourage the employees’ creativity and efficiency. How to create valuable products and services? Indeed, one has to understand that the best asset of a company is its third-class workforce (also known as technologists) and their « creative capital ». As Creativity is a mental process which gives rise to new ideas, technologies, economicgrowth, notions and innovations used to develop something or to create something new.
How can firms manage creativity? How is it enforced? The authors notice three guidelines that have to be followed in order to ensure employees' creativity and as a consequence in order to increase firms' productivity:
« Spark creativity amongst managers »:
➢ First of all, in a company such as SAS, the conceptof « managing for creativity » becomes a priority as soon as a candidate applies for a job. To ensure efficient work, companies are looking for the right person to fill their desired employee profile. Companies aim at hiring someone who is motivated, hard working, not only interested in perks and trustworthy. With the candidate hired, managers will do their best to keep him/her creative by givinghim/her some freedom and autonomy. This policy in the article states the following : « Hire hard, managing soft ». Nevertheless, if the person hired does not meet company's requirements, the company reserves the right to lay him off. Furthermore, all of this has also another advantage for the firm. As it is hard and long to be hired and as employees are supposed to stay for a long time in thecompany, the management team make recruit and replacement economies. According to Stanford University, « SAS gains around $85 million » thanks to this policy. Indeed, if one needs « 6 months to recruit a worker, it takes years for the worker to assimilate the way the firm works ». According to us, people then establish long-standing relationships, which is also very positive for productivity. SAS isnot the only one company that applies this « hire hard, managing soft » policy as for instance Pilote SA, a french company specialized in the manufacture of motorhomes. This company also needs time before to hire someone but as soon as this person becomes a member of the firm, he/she gains in autonomy and freedom. Nevertheless, If this policy is applied for engineers, managers and people working inoffice and it is not applied for workers on the assembly line.
➢ Moreover, SAS as well as a lot of other companies as for example Thales Communication management team's objectives are to ensure and to manage creativity through an efficient framework; that is to say to install a climate of reliability amongst the employees by redefining and organizing their tasks. The consequence will result ina productivity increase. Thus, employees feel equal, united and working towards the same goals, which are to enable customers to enjoy both innovative and superior products. As a consequence, all of them are really motivated to work together and to enable their company to make profit and benefit from their work. As managers are now aware of the job content and respect it, employees will no...