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“Better Get a Bucket.”

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Logos. Core stories. Blog posts. Web designs.

Every day, our creative team is challenged to find fresh and highly engaging ways to communicate with myriad audiences. And every day, we tap into our creative powers to meet those challenges. It makes sense – we’re marketing professionals!

But creativity is about much more than pictures, words and marketing projects.

If you think your job as a staffing or recruiting professional doesn’t require a ton of creativity, I respectfully challenge your position. While you may adhere to well developed processes, use established forms and have lots (and lots) of rules to follow, you still need to be resourceful, imaginative and original if you want to be successful. No matter what your role is – recruiter, account manager, receptionist, marketing director, VP of sales – you’re in a problem-solving business. And effective problem-solving requires, yep, creative thinking.

Some days, the ideas just flow – and problems seem to solve themselves:

  • You have a flash of brilliance for how to get past a “gatekeeper” – and reach the real decision-maker in a prospect organization.
  • You develop new relationships and partnerships within your market to connect with more potential job seekers.
  • You have an “Aha!” moment and figure out a novel solution to a client’s persistent turnover problem.

Other days? Not so much.

For those days when you struggle to solve a dilemma or break through a mental block, try one of these techniques. But you better get a bucket – with so many ideas flowing, you’re gonna need one to hold them all!

Tips for creative problem-solving.

The inversion technique.

The inversion technique is a unique approach to problem-solving that starts with imagining worst-case scenarios – and then using those scenarios as the basis for developing solutions. It’s similar to reverse-engineering, in that the process starts at the end (i.e., a disastrous outcome) and works backward toward to reveal problems, opportunities and potential solutions you might otherwise miss. In this earlier Shareworthy Service post, Vicki explains how to apply the principle to find new opportunities, reveal hidden problems and solve your staffing customers’ toughest problems.


Sound counterintuitive? Hear me out. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a problem, you may not even know where to start – and the anxiety can paralyze you. If this happens and you can’t make any progress, shelve the problem temporarily. Work on low-priority tasks for a few minutes and just let your mind wander. Even if you aren’t actively trying to solve your problem, your brain is working on it in the background. In the meantime, you’ll be accomplishing small wins (i.e., checking off those mindless tasks), creating momentum and boosting your confidence – which is sometimes all you need to break through a mental block and develop an inspired solution.

Get outta there.

Literally! We’re creatures of habit; our minds associate places with feelings and activities. So if you’re having trouble thinking outside the box, try taking your mind outside the box that is your office. Take a quick walk. Try swapping desks with a co-worker, if that’s an option. If it’s not? Rearrange your desk. Physical changes to your environment (even small ones) challenge your brain and can instantly lead to fresh sources of inspiration.

Idea hijacking.

In the early days of my career, a very smart guy taught me the “CASE method” – otherwise known as the “Copy And Steal Everything method.” No, I’m not suggesting it’s legal or ethical to rip off logo designs or plagiarize others’ work. What I am suggesting, however, is that if you’re absolutely stumped and can’t see your way through a problem, it makes sense to find out how others have handled similar situations.

If you need a novel perspective, do a little internet research. Chances are, you’ll find an article, blog post or video that’s at least tangentially related to your issue. And all you need is a spark of an idea to ignite your own creative furnace. Break down what made someone else’s solution work, and figure out a way to adapt it to your situation.

Feeling uninspired? Have a tough marketing or business problem to solve?

The experts here at Haley Marketing Group would love to help you figure out an effective, affordable solution. After all we’re in the problem-solving business, too! Just let us know how we can help.

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