3 Creative Exercises to Transform Worker Bees Into CEOs

by Chantal January 31, 2019

I took this image of a darling little worker bee this fall when most of the fruits and veggies were in their prime.  As business owners (especially those in the creative field) this time of year truly is our harvest; a busy time full of hustle, bustle… and dollars. Then, the winter approaches and for many, things slow down. Taxes become a priority. Plans for the new year are drawn up.

When the cold comes, you may switch from “worker bee” mode into “CEO mode.”

If you haven’t heard this phrase before, I’ll briefly summarize: those cute little honeybees above do all the grunt work. And if you’re a solo entrepreneur or even if you have a big staff, 75% of your business is likely worker bee stuff. Answering emails, expense reports, and executing the plans that make keep your business humming along. Very important work!

However, without the guidance of the queen bee–the CEO–the honeybees don’t have much direction. In fact, if a queen bee suddenly dies, the colony rushes to literally create a new queen by feeding a few chosen baby larvae royal jelly. The lucky bee who is chosen will eat that good stuff the rest of her life. Talk about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth!

The point: CEOs and business owners need time to lead with inspiration,  be creative and execute their ideas. 

If you’re stuck this year so far (don’t worry too much, we’re only one month in!) you can start with some simple creative exercises to help define your goals for 2019! Don’t have the energy to re-write the book on that one? No problem. (And no reason to do that anyhow.)

Image result for honeycomb border

3 Creative Exercises to Transform Worker Bees Into CEOs

Hot tip: for those who aren’t buzzing solo, try these as staff meeting exercises!

1.  Post-it Brain Dump

Pretty easy! (And a little bit of a paper waste, but you don’t necessarily have to throw away the ideas that are pruned–you can always hang on to them for later.) Write down all of the inspired things you’d like to accomplish this year with sticky notes (try different colors for different aspects of your business.) Then, the hard part: pare it down. Keep only the best, and then reduce even further. Limit your keepers to 2-3 best ideas, and shelf the rest. Use these create your goals for the coming year.

2.  Five Ways to Die

I love this shift in thinking exercise that asks, instead of “how can we succeed?”…“how can we fail?” Take a good, hard look at your business or industry and ask yourself, honestly, what certain-death measures could you take to ensure that your business or organization would fail? You’ll find some surprising inspiration along the way.

3. Think Inside the Box

That’s right, inside the box. If I were to ask you, right now, to come up with an amazing new recipe for any type of food at all, you’d have so many options that spaghetti would be between your ears rather than on your plate.  Yet, if I asked you to specifically brainstorm an idea for a new eggplant recipe, you’d already be thinking more clearly (and maybe thinking “yuck!” if you’re not a fan of the nightshade fruit.)

Break your creativity goals into smaller goals, and give yourself parameters. For example:

  • Procure only two great ideas to increase sales *for one specific product* this next quarter, and then choose just one after deliberation.
  • Choose one particular customer, segment of customers or partner relationship to nurture and deliberate over how it will be done.

I hope these ideas find you well, inspired and ready to take on your business or personal endeavors in the new year! If you find that you need some help with applying your creative genius, let’s chat. 😉

REMEMBER: Honey is made from the average weed.


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