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Thursday, June 27, 2013
How to Focus Creativity to Achieve Results
Are you an idea monkey?
According to G. Michael Maddock, author of “Free the Idea Monkey…to Focus on What Matters Most,” an idea monkey is someone who can produce lots of new thoughts, concepts or ideas on demand and is ready to pour his or her abundant creative energies into working with others.
But while this may make such a person more valuable in the workplace at a time when organizations are craving innovation, it also can make him or her a giant pain in the butt.
That’s probably not news to anyone who has to lead or manage such people. While it may seem great when an idea monkey pops up with “We could do this, this and this!” the manager knows he or she is going to have to figure out a way to harness all that creative energy and mold it into into a workable plan.
In an interview with Anita Bruzzese, Maddock explains how a leader can survive working with such energetic, creative types without losing focus and killing the creative spark of the idea monkey.
AB: How can a leader benefit from working with an idea monkey?
CMM: Research indicates that as much as 54% of a stock’s value is based on ideas you haven’t even thought of yet. Idea monkeys can help your company build a balanced innovation portfolio. New products, services and business models create higher margins and happier and more loyal customers.
The greatest leaders play to their strengths. Working with a great idea monkey may liberate you to focus on process, operations or strategy instead of trying to brainstorm what’s next for your company.
AB: What are some ways to keep an idea monkey on track without killing their creativity?
CMM: 1) Celebrate their talent. The ability to create dozens of unique ideas on command is a superhero power. Make sure your creative people know it. Telling them how much you respect their ability to be creative – and maybe even admitting you don’t share the same gift – is a great way to show respect and honor their creative genius.
2) Humbly bring them a SPECIFIC challenge. Too many ideas can be distracting, particularly when they have nothing to do with the challenges that are keeping you (read more here)