Welcome to the many new subscribers who have joined
us over the past couple of months. I hope
all readers find this issue, like others before it,
full of practical ideas and techniques that help you
and your organizations apply the principles of the
Breakthrough Creativity approach and the eight
creative talents to enhance
your creativity, innovation and competitiveness.
Happy Holidays to you and your family and may you
have a wonderful, healthy, and very creative new
make a new year's resolution to
push forward on your journey toward greater
|Tapping Creativity for Top Performance
One of the topics I covered in the LiveMeeting
webinar on October 18, was the use of the eight
creative talents to help leaders deal with
ambiguity and change. Using the knowledge of the
eight creative talents to extend your repertoire of
responses to challenges requires the ability to
switch into another
talent which may not be one of your favorite ones.
A participant asked "How can I learn to
flex into my
non-favorite talents?" That's a great question!
Listed below are some suggestions:
1. Be aware of the talent that you are currently
using. Self-awareness can't be overstressed!
Until you are
conscious of the talent you are using to take in
data or make some judgment about that data, you
won't know what talent you need to flex out of!
2. Take a short break. Before plunging ahead stuck
with the same perspective, take a break for just a
moment. Whether it's a
short walk outside or a stretch or a mental break,
disrupting your routine can give you time to pull
out one of the other talents to help
you reframe and see the situation differently.
3. Develop an image or symbol to spur flexing.
This image could be your favorite
cartoon character who reminds you to think big
like the Explorer talent
(perhaps, Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes
cartoon?). Or it could be someone who reminds you
of a particular talent, such as Thomas Edison and
his use of
the Navigator talent to work through hundreds of
experiments to discover the incandescent light bulb.
4. Think about the talent you are most unfamiliar
with and find a creative force -- a piece of art or
music or a favorite spot in nature -- that evokes that
talent. Perhaps it is jazz music that calls forth your
improvisational Adventurer talent or some piece of
sculpture, such as Rodin's Thinker, to call forth your
5. Have a list of questions to ask that draw on the
other talents. Questions could include: For the
improvisational Adventurer talent, you might ask:
the problem look, smell, taste, feel like? Or,
for the thoughtful, adaptive Navigator talent:
Where's the evidence and what's the history of the
problem? Or for the pulsing possibilities of the
talent: In what ways might we...? Or, for the
prophetic and synthetic power of the
Visionary talent: What might the future look like
ten years from now?
To bring out the people-focused energy of the Harmonizer
talent, you can ask: Who is and is not involved?
For the values-based power of the Poet
What's important to everyone? For the strategic
power of the Pilot talent: What's our
purpose and goals? And for the analytical force of
the Inventor talent:
What framework or model will help us understand the
|Managing for More Creative Results
Managing for more creative results (adapted from
BREAKTHROUGH CREATIVITY: Achieving Top Performance
with the Eight Creative Talents)
Question: I have one person on my team who seems to
focused on the far distant future. She can almost be
clairvoyant at times. Yet, she seems to have a hard
time sharing her ideas with the rest of the team and
explaining how we would be able to get from the
present to that future. What can I do as
team leader to help her be more productive and
effective as well
Answer: For such individuals, who prefer what I
call the Visionary talent, their creativity, or
their ability to consistently produce different and
valuable results, comes in the form of being able to
synthesize ideas from a wide variety of disciplines
and generate incredibly insightful and far-reaching
ideas about the future. They
excel at asking creative, provocative questions
that challenge the group to
find profound answers and big solutions.
the same time, they can be sidetracked because of:
* A neglect of relevant facts and details
* Constant pursuit of new ideas
* Perfectionism and need for mastery over the topic
* Being overly independent and private and
unwilling to share their ideas
As team leader, you can help them improve their
creative capacities by
encouraging them to:
* Work on their communication skills, to
share their far-reaching thoughts and ideas
take time to explain how to get their ideas accepted
* Take breaks to their reduce intensity
* Partner up with a colleague who excels at
detailed action planning to ground their ideas with
* Support their use of their decision-making talent
to balance their constant pursuit of ideas
Previous newsletters have highlighted the
other eight creative talents. In addition, the book
"Breakthrough Creativity: Achieving Top Performance
Using the Eight Creative Talents" devotes a chapter
to each one of the talents and provides tips for
enhancing that talent's creativity and for managing
individuals with preferences for certain talents.
See "about the Book" below!
|More Tips for Achieving Greater Creativity on Your Team
In the last issue, we continued to explore
techniques to improve
the productivity of a creative problem solving
session. In this issue, you'll find additional tips
on getting the most from such
Mind-body researcher Herb Benson's article in the
November issue of "The Harvard Business
Review" had some
excellent suggestions for elevating the levels of
creativity in your team, particularly when dealing
with a tough issue. In such situations, Benson
encourages the use of a four-part "breakout"
1. First, lay out the totality of a difficult
pressing problem. To do so, gather the details of
the problem, its roots and current challenges. All
team members are instructed to come to the meeting
prepared to provide this background. During this
step, the team "struggles mightily
with a thorny problem."
2. Next, lead the team through a relaxation exercise,
have them take a walk, or have the team sleep on the
problem, to get them away from the
problem and do something totally different.
3. Inevitably, these two steps lead to new
insights. Be sure to have the team capture them!
Benson calls these insight experiences "breakouts."
Others call them "peak experiences" or
"being in the flow" or "in the zone."
4. Bring the team back together and have them apply
their insights to the
Benson and his Mind/Body Medical Institute have
lots of data to support the
this technique. Having used a similar approach when
I was writing my book, I can certainly attest to its
|Tools for Using the Eight Creative Talents
For readers interested in building more creativity
into their own lives or those of their clients or
their team members, I recommend the
"Breakthrough Creativity Profile Participant Workbook"
"Breakthrough Creativity Profile Facilitator's
Guide," both available through HRDQ.com.
The Participant Workbook features an introduction to
the Breakthrough Creativity approach, a 16-item
pressure-sensitive scoring form designed to identify
favorite talents, an overview of the
eight creative talents, a team talent matrix and
action planning exercises. While the Participant
Workbook was developed for use in a workshop, it can
be used by individuals seeking new insights into
their creative strengths and challenges and by
coaches working to help their clients reach their
The Facilitator Guide is packed with a wealth of
providing background information on the Breakthrough
Creativity model, a step-by-step guide for
conducting several different workshops based on the
Eight Creative Talents, exercises to expand
learning, and a copy of the
Participant Workbook. It also includes a section
for coaches on using the Breakthrough Creativity
model with clients. Finally, the Guide comes with a
containing overhead transparency masters, activity
handouts, and more.
Can We Be Too Creative?
In a journal I read last week,
the question is asked, "Can we be too creative?"
What would your answer be?
My answer would take two parts. The first is
that given all the challenges that the world, our
organizations and nations, as well as ourselves are
facing, it's hard to imagine that
there could be too many ideas leading to different
Indeed, studies by Bain & Company and Boston Consulting
Group continue to see global executives overwhelming
listing innovation, creativity's closely-linked
cousin, as a key driver of long-term
success. So it is hard to imagine that we could
have too much creativity!
But what if the poser of this
question was equating creativity ONLY to idea
If that's the case, perhaps it is possible to have too
many ideas. In fact, recent research continues to
fact that it is not the number of ideas that is
lacking. It's finding ways to make those ideas
work. So maybe the question is right on. Maybe we
can spend too
much time just generating new ideas. What we need to
do is develop the other side, the often
underappreciated creative contributions of the
detail loving talent of the Navigator, the project
management proficiency of the Pilot talent, or the
political skills of the Harmonizer talent to
translate ideas into solutions.
It is also very clear that we can stretch
our creative efforts too far and may need at times
to take a
break. Remember, creativity is "the ability to
consistently -- but not necessarily constantly! --
produce different and valuable results."
Several researchers have recently advocated just
that! See More Tips for Achieving Greater
Creativity on Your Team for information on what
one researcher suggests!
of your creative nature brings a sense of
self-esteem, and heightened self esteem brings a
confidence that you can handle anything life tosses
your way, including change, uncertainty and ambiguity!"
"Challenges exercise your creativity muscle. It is a
muscle. If you use it, it gets stronger." (with
thanks to A.J. Lafley, CEO of Procter and Gamble.)