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September 2005

Fall is in the air here in New England, my favorite season. I even saw a bit of red in the trees two weeks ago in a drive through southern Maine. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and this short and crisp newsletter!

Of course, for those of you who may have been affected by the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina, these last few weeks have been catastrophic. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. Let those who can help find deep pockets of creativity to discover the best solutions for the incredible challenges in New Orleans and elsewhere!

in this issue
  • September Sabbatical
  • Join Lynne online!
  • The Art of Making Change Initiatives Stick
  • More tips for achieving greater creativity on your teams
  • Juggling acts and the eight creative talents

  • Join Lynne online!

    Be sure to save October 18, 2005 at 12 Noon EDT for "Tapping Creativity for Top Performance: Breakthrough Techniques for Smarter Leadership and Optimal Teamwork." In this complimentary online seminar, Lynne will describe ways that the eight creative talents can enhance leadership skills, such as decision-making, team building and strategic planning.

    This complimentary one hour seminar is brought to you by Microsoft® Office Live Meeting as part of the Leadership Forum, where the best in business meet. Live Meeting seminars are an incredible resource for current topics on leadership. This past week, over 800 people from all over the world logged on to the webinar!

    Sign up today at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=47857&cbClass=7329&signupkey=2659.

    And be sure to mark the date and time down for this easy and no-cost way to learn how to increase your capacity to explore new horizons, confront tough challenges, and lead through times of complexity and change.

    Feel free to pass this information on to interested colleagues and friends.

    The Art of Making Change Initiatives Stick

    Just in case you missed it, Sloan Management Review highlighted the article, "The Art of Making Change Initiatives Stick" in its summer issue. In the article, Professor Mike Roberto and I describe four ways to help change initiatives become part of the fabric of the organization.

    More tips for achieving greater creativity on your teams

    In the last issue, we explored techniques to improve the productivity of a creative brainstorming session. In this issue, you'll find additional tips on getting the most from such sessions, which are too often tailored for those who enjoy sharing ideas spontaneously in groups.

    Besides following the "brainstorming rules" described in the last newsletter, make sure you tap into all eight creative talents -- a wide variety of creative preferences -- to let everyone's creativity emerge.

    During a "brainstorming" session, the team should make sure it pays attention to the perspectives of these who prefer the Harmonizer and the Poet talents, the talents that use subjective, values-based criteria for making decisions. These talents can provide often-overlooked issues around people, values and politics. Too often, we fail to listen to these ideas or consider such issues. Creative ideas then meet with resistance and fail to get recognized, appreciated or implemented. The Harmonizer and Poet talents can help prevent such failures if they are allowed to be heard.

    Be sure that team members with preferred talents that are extraverted don't overwhelm the session but instead allow those with introverted preferences to contribute. And, explore other techniques besides brainstorming to generate new ideas. Team members who prefer an introverted talent, for example, might feel more comfortable with a reflective tool, such as brainwriting, brainwalking, or journalling. In fact, all members of the team might benefit from these more introspective tools as they get in touch with the introverted sides to their creativity. (Michael Michalko's book "Thinkertoys" has descriptions of these more reflective tools.)

    If all talents are not represented on the team, assigning team members to take on those talents is one technique that not only adds fun to the session. It will also provide new perspectives.

    The talents are briefly described on my website and in more detail, along with their incorporation into the creative problem solving process, in my book, "Breakthrough Creativity: Achieving Top Performance Using the Eight Creative Talents."

    Innovative ways to be sure all the talents are available to your team will be posted soon on www.breakthroughcreativity.com!

    Juggling acts and the eight creative talents

    Recent research has highlighted the struggles leaders face in balancing the often competing demands of the job: long-term and short-term, people and profits, strategic and tactical, the big picture and details, and the list goes on!

    The challenges facing leaders today often require them to be able to manage paradoxes and dilemmas. Yes and no decisions are fewer and fewer these days. Instead, there aren't any easy answers, as Ron Heifetz has so ably pointed out.

    So what can leaders do to develop the ability to balance these often conflicting demands? One way is to become conscious of which talent (talents in this case can be just like "mental models" or "paradigms") is predominating and affecting your perception of the challenge. You can often get frozen into one point of view without realizing it as a result of the stress that dilemmas and tough choices can cause.

    The next is to question whether that talent is the appropriate talent to be favoring at this particular point in time. Maybe you want to zoom in and take a more detailed view or perhaps step back and see the bigger picture around the challenge.

    And the third technique is to tap into other creative talents to be sure you are considering the broadest spectrum of perspectives. Perhaps the more spontaneous, improvisational approach that the Adventurer talent brings might help you see the challenge differently?

    We'll explore other ways for dealing with dilemmas in upcoming issues of this newsletter.

    September Sabbatical

    This issue of the Practical Innovator Newsletter is brief. I am not quite finished with my summer sabbatical which is going to conclude with a trip to Ireland. As readers who are familiar with past issues of this newsletter know, I often use my trips to recycle and refresh my creativity. An example is the above picture, taken several years ago in Sydney, Australia. You just never know what you are going to find when you turn the corner!

    I hope you are able to turn your vacation days into a time for exploring your curiosity and renewing your creativity as well as your health!

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    Copyright (c) Lynne C. Levesque. All rights in all media reserved.