…is certainly a sly, secretive and slippery Resistor! Most always present and frequently not talked about (cannot talk about fear, that would be too real). Many relationships and team collaboration problems have their origins rooted in the need for power, control and status hierarchy – with fear close by and looming in the shadows.
His Emotional Resistive Powers are:
- Fear of Failure, Fear of Ambiguity and Fear of Rejection
Take these actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Emotional Resistive Powers of The 3 Headed Gremlin!
- To overcome the fear of failure and the need to be right, set a weekly experiment quota. If I have the need to always be right, then I fear failure. However, it is simply not possible to be right and avoid failure when we are in unfamiliar territory and looking to blaze new trails and approaches. The faster we accelerate our experiments when in unfamiliar territory, the sooner we get to being right more often and thus minimizing failure. It may feel somewhat counterintuitive, yet with experiments there is a natural built-in test/failure mechanism. When we learn from our experiments, we can adapt, adjust and move forward. The more planned experiments the better. Thomas Edison soundly underscored this point.
- To overcome the fear of ambiguity and the need to be in control make the mental leap that you are in full control of your reaction to events, situations and/or ideas. How you choose to react – whether positive, neutral and/or negative is 100% in your control. To that end, when in the white water of ambiguity, implement the thinking tool Stop, Challenge and Choose: 1) Stop the action, describe the situation at hand and take at least three deep breathes to center and calm yourself. 2) Challenge how you are interpreting the situation, thinking about it and feeling. Ask, what is my interpretation, and why am I thinking/feeling this way? 3) Choose your response – Ask, am I interpreting it accurately? What would a proactive, optimal response be to this situation?
- To overcome the fear of rejection and the need to fit in, go on an excursion or two and take a walk down history’s memory lane. The overwhelming majority of explorers, inventors, dare devils and entrepreneurs did not care much about fitting in – they were comfortable in their own skin. They were fine being a minority of one, did not need much extrinsic praise and did not really try to be well-rounded. A few key personality traits of creative people include independent, original, risk taking, need alone time, curious, focused, persevering work style and intrinsic focus on excellence. Evel Knievel, the high-flying dare devil and stunt performer said: ‘If you fall during your life, it doesn’t matter. You’re never a failure if you try to get up.’
…barks long and loud at everybody and everything he is not familiar with, does not recognize and know. Who said variety is the spice of life? Unless forced to do so we become quite comfortable and accustomed to experiencing the world in predictable and non-enriching ways. We stay in our comfort zones and perceive, think about, evaluate, and respond to ideas and people in familiar ways. Consequently, we experience truly little variance which is the lifeblood of creativity – which suits The Junk Yard Dog fine thank you. He does not want to deviate from the habits and routines he has spent a good deal of time perfecting. He is a creature of habit in how he learns, goes through his day and interacts with people. Oh, how he cherishes his checklists!
His Resistive Powers are:
- Thinking, Perceiving and Responding in Habit-Bound Ways
Take these three actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Resistive Powers of The Junk Yard Dog!
- Schedule a thirty-minute appointment with yourself every day and tune in to what is occurring in front of you right now. Stop the action – observe, question and examine what is present before you. Wake up, reinvigorate your curiosity, rediscover your sense of wonder and your ability to be awed. Expand your capacity, your willingness to value the power of questions. See common things again as if for the first time, develop the thinking frame to see things like a novice, a beginners mind. Re-spark your curiosity, ask why, why not and what if? The most novel ideas usually follow the most imaginative questions!
- Speaking of breaking habits and routine, diversify your idea network to include learning events, shows, conferences and networking events. Ask, ‘Which outside experts to tap into?’ ‘What outsiders to bring in?’ ‘What other networks or groups of people to get integrated into?’ Consider factors such as diverse cultures, countries of origin, gender, age, political and socio-economic status, professional organizations, levels within organizations and industries. Put it all in a shaker bottle and give it a darn good shaking.
- Reduce your Gotta, Gotta Do’s – those things you just Gotta, Gotta Do. You may have a good case of the Gotta, Gotta Do’s and not realize it. Change the game and rid yourself of the painful affliction of Gotta, Gotta Do’s by taking the following actions: 1) Draw a four-column chart and label Column #1 – Gotta, Gotta Do’s; Column #2 – Stop; Column #3 – Start; and Column #4 – Continue (with modifications). 2) List your Gotta Gotta Do’s in Column #1, review them and with an eye to minify the list, put corresponding checkmarks in Column #2. Moving forward, cease and desist with these time sucking Gotta, Gotta Do’s. 3) In Column #4 find a way with the remaining Gotta, Gotta Do’s to either delegate them or devise a more effective way of doing them. In Column #3, identify actions you should start doing like exercising more and strengthening select skills. Now, start doing them!
…has the unique ability to Take a Break and Incubate on ideas, generate additional ones and put together new, unique combinations. Being a student of physics, he has keen insight and realizes that ideas have varying frequencies, can flow and refract in different directions – to expand wide beyond current boundaries and to contract in between the lines. By integrating his ideas from his Sidekick Micro-Burst, he develops a host of unique idea combinations
His Powers are:
- Borrow It
- Make New Combinations
Take these three actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable.
- Borrow It by thinking analogically and borrow ideas from one context and apply them in another. Three techniques to think analogically: 1) Integrate excursions into your weekly routines. Immerse yourself early and often in the places of most potential. Don’t look in places just because the light is on there. Bring your lantern with you and look in the most opportune places. 2) Go on a wide variety of diverse physical field visits to include conducting interviews, observing and walking the processes where you want to gain a deeper, keen insight. 3) Conduct literature scans of diverse materials to include trend data, specialized publications, magazines, newspapers, websites, videos and books. Look for ideas in unique places and ask: ‘How to apply/force-connect these ideas to your challenge, problem or opportunity?’
- Elaborate but not excessively by adding enough detail to ideas and concepts to improve, embellish or transform them. Use the following set of jump sparking questions to assist your efforts: ‘What if we exaggerated it?’ ‘How about a blend?’ ‘How to increase value inexpensively?’ ‘What if we changed colors, taste, visuals, sounds or feel?’ What if we made it stronger?’ ‘How to minimize it?’ ‘How about adding in a secret sauce ingredient or two?’ ‘How to change the pace, the schedule or the timing?’ ‘What to do without?’ ‘What if we turn it backward or do just the opposite?’
- Make New Combinations by taking something that currently exists and adapt it to develop new applications, purposes, relationships or uses. Integrate more incubation time periods into your problem solving, idea finding efforts. Use the natural power of incubation to pause, step away from the issue, put some distance between you and it. Defer judgment, don’t force a decision prematurely. Let your ideas flow freely and allow your innate associative thinking capabilities to do their work. Prime the pump so insights, ideas and new combinations find you – more novel ideas jump into an optimistic and calm mind.
…is true to her name and makes certain she conforms and fits in, keeps her head low, follows the rules (loves checklists), stays in her lane – her territory where she is supposed to be. She does not challenge assumptions, the status-quo or why we do things the way we do. She is very boring…quite stifling in fact.
Her Resistive Powers are:
- Overemphasize the Status-Quo
- Conform to the Pressure of Rules, Traditions, Culture and Social Influences
Take these three actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Resistive Powers of Chameleon!
- Disrupt Groupthink: Defined as a mode of thinking where individuals of a small cohesive group will acquiesce and accept a perceived group consensus, viewpoint or conclusion, irrespective if they judge it to be valid, accurate or optimal. Three mechanisms to counterbalance Groupthink are: 1) Implement multiple communication channels for dissent to surface in decision-making. No, silence is not golden. 2) Empower individuals to ‘stop the assembly line’ if they see an emerging problem. 3) Encourage, incentivize and reward the surfacing of countervailing ideas.
- Extend the Boundaries: The majority of novel, spicy ideas are found beyond the boundaries – at the extremes – at the exaggerations. They are not found with more-of-the-same with a slight improvement thinking. Force yourself out of your comfort zone, your nine dots and exaggerate your thinking by asking, ‘How to make this idea/concept/service/process perfect? Perfect is an exaggeration – it really is not attainable (unless you are a superhero of course). When we exaggerate and play with ideas and alternatives to make them perfect it will take us beyond our current level of thinking, our boundaries which are most often self-imposed. Be judicious with this next tactic: I dare you to produce an idea so beyond the boundaries, that when you share it with the boss, he/she will fire you on the spot, guaranteed! Try it…extend your boundaries…and keep the idea to yourself. The boss might not be ready (ever) to hear it.
- Conduct Smart Repetitions: Working in concert with Extend the Boundaries, start with a small number of repetitions to begin training and honing this technique. Add more repetitions over time, make the repetitions smart – do not simply go through the motions. With smart repetitions a training habit will begin to feel more natural. The goal is to perfect the technique! Le t me repeat that – to perfect the technique. Experimenting is a springboard to strengthening your divergent and convergent thinking skills. The outcome is to develop muscle memory where you really do not have to think about it; it has become automatic and is anchored as a repeatable, everyday habit. Now we are cooking with gas!
…has a built-in compass to consistently navigate competing challenges, Fight the Right Foe, outsmart and outmaneuver them. Most often it’s not a fair fight. He uses facts, data and logic to choose which foes to fight. He prioritizes the challenges that he has the energy, passion, expertise and resources to pursue, and those that will deliver the greatest impact. With his ability to laser focus he prevents expensive false stars that consume valuable time, resources and energy.
His Powers are:
- See It
- Find It
- Be Versatile
Take these three actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable.
- See It: Produce a visual image of the journey that is possible and put yourself in the place of greatest potential – your dream, your big goal. There is nothing stronger or more powerful than a dream. Dreams cannot be defeated, broken or taken. You cannot accomplish big feats without a big idea; you can’t sustain a long ascent without a solid trail guide; and you can’t fully harness your energy without first Seeing It. Transport yourself to the future (e.g., one year from today, write down the date), and visualize in vibrant imagery that you have realized your dream, your big goal. What does it feel like? Engage all your senses and take it in. Now, look back over the past year and identify the steps you took to realize your dream; the barriers you had to overcome; and the key milestones. If you are genuinely excited and invigorated with your vision and all its possibilities…onward!
- Find It: With your dream/big goal in full panoramic view, it’s time to find the data, details, facts and information required for a successful ascent. There are several trails you can take to get there; you must choose the best ones. Stay clear eyed and don’t get distracted by shiny objects. Data, facts, information can come from a variety of sources including literature reviews, interviews, field excursions, observations and experiments. Develop a solid data collection plan and cast a wide enough net to find the most important and relevant facts, yet not one so wide to boil the ocean and get bogged down. Ask, what are the most pertinent facts and information? What does the data tell me? What does the data not tell me? What do my gut feelings, intuition and instincts tell me to do?
- Be Versatile: After sorting through the data and information and discerning the most important and relevant facts, it’s time for action. A key here is to remain versatile in your approach because it’s almost certain that you will face ambiguity and complexity as you move forward toward your dream, your big goal. Anticipate that you won’t have 100% conclusive information, and there won’t be a yellow brick road laid out for you. You must blaze your own trail. Stay open and curious to new information as you move forward. Stay resolute and never stop questioning, never lose your curiosity. You most likely will have to adapt your plans, modify timelines and reallocate resources. When you are proactive and versatile, as one door closes another one invariably opens.
…was born to run fast and exemplifies that Imagination will Prevail. She has the unique Powers to Rain and Select novel and feasible ideas. Being a prolific idea rainmaker she significantly increases the odds of having novel and feasible ideas because she generates an abundance of them. She is cut from the cloth that more and novel is better – and not that less is more. She works from a bountiful harvest of ideas…and then converges and whittles them down to the best, most valuable ones.
- Defer Judgment when Diverging: Possibly the cardinal diverging principle and maybe the most difficult. Unfortunately, we’re well trained to not to defer judgment – and not to 1st identify what’s right with and the potential of an idea. Instead, we often react to new ideas in the opposite way – by 1st pointing out what’s wrong with them. The key is to defer judgment by separating the task of generating ideas from judging them. Put some time distance between the two tasks, give new ideas a fighting chance to take root, to take hold and blossom. It’s analogous to writing in that you can’t write and edit simultaneously – you have to time separate the two efforts in order to do both of them well.
- Set a Weekly Idea Quota: With a specific challenge/problem/opportunity where you have energy and need novel ideas to solve, set an idea quota – e.g., ‘I will produce 20 ideas this week to solve the challenge of how to consistently exercise.’ Hold yourself accountable to meet or exceed the quota – don’t make it too easy or too arduous. Generating a minimum of 20 ideas weekly (that’s only three a day) against a well-defined challenge/problem/opportunity you want to solve is quite workable.
- Diverge and Seek Wild and Unusual Ideas: The wild and more unusual the better. It’s far more exhilarating to try to ride a wild mustang than to try to get a chuck horse to gallop. Go beyond the obvious and more-of-the-same and strive for novelty and uniqueness. New ideas or pieces of ideas are most often at or beyond the boundaries (what we believe is logical and feasible). Yes, you have to fall in every once in a while to see how close to the edge you are. With novelty and uniqueness in hand, then move forward and ‘tame’ the wild ideas to be valuable and feasible. The process is fun, exciting and profitable.