Lead Teams To Be More Resilient [Yes! And Blog # 97]

by | Apr 27, 2015 | Facilitate meetings, Free Articles, Innovate, Solution Focus

Sometimes even successful endeavours can hit a bump, just when success seems certain. Creative leaders can deal with this…   “How my achievements mock me!” William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida   How might you motivate a team that thinks it has succeeded, only to hit an obstacle? I cycled 100km around Warwickshire (or Shakespeare County as the PR people like to describe it) for charity. It was a bitterly cold day, my gears kept slipping on hills and I lost the route four times, ending up cycling on my own for most of the day. About three hours in to the ride, tired and a bit miserable, I was riding up a hill. I kept going, seeing the top get ever closer until at last I breasted the hill… and found it was what I call a false peak, an optical illusion; there was yet more of the hill to climb. After some choice words I chewed an energy bar, drank water, focused on two metres of road to make the hill seem flatter and inched my way up to the top. I was reminded of this scenario, when facilitating a group to revise their strategy. I had worked with most of them two years before, to set their strategy and whilst they had not achieved everything, they had done well with minimal resources. In particular, they had recently received confirmation of substantial funding to recruit more people, which greatly boosted morale … until they realised that they would not actually receive the funding and the new people for some months. At that point, their energy started to falter. They...

How to Facilitate Creativity [Yes! And. Blog 100]

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic. Will never find it. ROALD DAHL – THE MINPINS Everyone can be creative; with the right process, techniques and a little magic … Footballer scores 99 goals but stalls before the hundred. Cricketer hits 99 runs and stalls before the hundred. Brooker writes 99 articles and stalls… After the 99th article, I decided to write something “special” for the 100th. I thought I would review all 99 articles, identify the themes and write about them. I didn’t realise how busy I would be and how long it would take to review 99 articles. And, when I had done it, I had no enthusiasm for it! So tonight in my hotel room I gave up on the idea. My 100th goal would not be a thirty metre volley in to the top corner of the net. My 100th run would not be a six in to the crowd. Instead, I would scramble the ball over the line, sneak a quick run, write on any topic and… Just write it…! And a question arrived. In the three months since writing the 99th article, what was the stand out moment about creativity that has stuck in my mind? Here it is. I was running a residential weekend on creativity with MBA students. Two of the students were, I suspect  (I didn’t measure it), adaptive rather than innovative in their style and they were both more introvert than extrovert. They were great people...

How Style Affects How You Innovate [Yes! And Blog #141]

How using different styles effectively can  enhance innovation… One of the activities I use at the start of innovation workshops or team workshops, is the cane activity (or “Get Caned” as I call it). This involves having two equal size teams either side of a long cane (I use a foldable tent pole) with the cane resting on each person’s index fingers. They must lower the cane to the floor from waist height, keeping their fingers on the cane at all times. This sounds very easy; if I say that groups usually take “five minutes plus” on their first run and are often standing on tip toes at times, you can sense it might not be. I give teams three attempts at it and usually they can reduce the time to less than a minute (the record being 25 seconds in my classes). Apart from being a useful team building exercise, I use it to bring out lessons about creativity and innovation. In the debriefing, one key lesson that emerges is about the different styles people have to tackle the challenge. Some are obvious; those who focus completely on the outcome and go for it, immediately shouting instructions seeking to use their intuition to work it out. Others want to break the rules “just drop it!” Some people are more experimental, “Let’s try this… that didn’t work, try this…” The rest observe how others do it and replicate what works. There is often frustration and the biggest lesson is that people tackle challenges in different ways (their style) and the team must listen and collaborate if they going to achieve the required...

How to Enhance Your Creative Thinking [Yes! And. Blog # 140]

If you want to enhance your creativity you need to interrupt your trains of thought …    “I have coined the term “bisociation” to make a distinction between the routine skills of thinking on a single plane, and the creative act which always operates on more than one plane.   Arthur Koestler, Philosopher How might you enhance creative thinking? I was on holiday in Spain last week and with glorious weather and time to think I began playing with a concept that I last wrote about in Yes! And Blog 80.  This was the idea of using a railway metaphor for how people think and create ideas, leading to how you can stimulate your creative thinking. As I pondered on it, the whole concept became a lot clearer for me so I thought I would build on that last article. In this telling of the metaphor, the track is your life path. All of your learning, skills and experience sit in carriages (or coaches). The carriages at the back contain all of the information from your childhood, one each for pre-school, primary school and secondary school, perhaps one for childhood outside school (chunk the carriages how you like). This is your own “train of thought” (sorry for the pun!). Information was poured in to the carriage(s) from the world outside, either actively introduced through interaction with people, by personal experience or passively absorbed. These carriages now contain memories. You can access the carriages and the memories but logically cannot add anything as you move on to a new piece of track (another period of your life). The memories are your...