Shared curly fries eaten out of paper wrappers on a tray. Factor in the tiny plastic-formed table and uncomfortable molded chairs, and you have the setting that began an exchange of inspiring ideas, dynamic goals and excitement about new ventures. This exchange of ideas and inspiration a regular event - call it Fry Friday, until well...... it stopped. The ideas stopped flowing and the fry place closed down. 

Enter Cheesecake-Monday. Yup, again maybe an off-the-nutrition-chart item, but maybe that's what it takes for creativity - to step away from the charts and graphs and be inspired. My Cheesecake-Mondays meetings are the jump start to my week where I meet with an inspiring colleague to talk about our writing, ideas and presentation work,  and to share what we call the "one good thing".  We set a goal together of finding one good thing each week that we report back on the next Monday.  It creates an awareness and mindfulness tone to our weeks. Sharing the "one good things" we find opens us up to finding more.  It's not a new idea and we are making the most of the concept. 

5 ways to use Fry-Friday and Cheesecake-Monday to jump start your team creativity

  1. Take the meeting out of the boardroom and get off the phone.  Choose a setting that allows the team to leave the laptops and whiteboards for awhile
  2. Give your meeting a designation, a label.  Make it your own. Be lofty or silly, The Cinnamon Bun Summit, Spaghetti Factory Spark, Tuesdays with Susie, whatever you choose. 
  3. Set a time limit for an hour at the most. This creates an urgency to walk right in, sit right down and let the party begin
  4. Don't talk about the weather. Templates, agendas, standardized topics and reporting can stifle the creativity we want to express. Save those types of meetings for what they are for - measuring results, setting business goals, etc.  The stuff that keep the wheels on the bus. What we are looking for here is keeping the bus interesting for the team to ride in. 
  5. Leave with a call to action. Much like the”gratitude and one good thing” calls to action, challenge your team to be creative in what they bring back next week. You are going to get the stats, the department updates anyway, so ask the team to bring back not only one good thing, but what they are going to do with it.
Team creativity is terribly important to team productivity. Creativity is not just about having fun and painting the bus purple, it's what helps find solutions, build results and engage. Part of Fry Fridays is in knowing that when the fry place closes down, it's time to find new outlets to jump start creativity.  There's nothing worse than fries that have been under the heat lamp way too long, and stale creativity is pretty much the same. Keep your team moving.  Be creative and you'll find inspiration to build great things upon, and you’ll have more fun. Now, let's paint the bus.  



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