How to Identify and Develop Creative Thinkers in Your Organization

This chapter has been written principally for people who manage others. If you're not a manager, you can learn a great deal about managing yourself for greater creative achievement. You may also learn more about what your manager might be looking for in you.

When running my ad agency years ago I found that there were many critical decisions that affected the quality and the success of our relationship with any given client and the creativity of the work we did for that client. Of all the decisions we made as managers that contributed to the success of an account team the most important by far was the choice of exactly who made up that team.

This talent selection process was particularly critical to me, as creative director, when assembling the copywriter and art director duo who would lead the creative development process on that account. Would they have the horses to do the job? Would they match up with the client's needs? Would they require a great deal of supervision or free me up for other fronts?

I often found myself thinking of people in terms of drivers and others. Who's going to drive the creative process for this client, and who is simply going to contribute her or his role to the team?

Now understand, this was long before I became a creative thinking expert. But it was during these years of moving people around on the great game board of ad agency account teams that I first got the sense that not all people were the same kinds of creative animals. Therefore, to produce the greatest creative bounty, I needed to cultivate, or manage, these "idea creatures" differently from one to the next. I call this management process Mind Farming.

In the same way farmers have to manage pigs differently than cows and sheep differently than chickens, managers need to cultivate the various mind-sets of the different animals who work for them to reap the greatest results.

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