Monday, December 6, 2010

Creative organization.

Last June, I had the pleasure of hearing Scott Belsky speak at The How Conference. He announced the launch of his updated Behance Network (version two), spoke of plans for the 99 percent, and also offered insight from his celebrated book, Making Ideas Happen. If you haven't read the book, you should. Now.

In a very matter-of-fact way, Scott identifies problems all creative teams face and offers simple, yet powerful solutions. One realization in particular helps us best utilize our team's strengths.

He identifies three agency personality types:

1. Dreamers – Always coming up with new ideas and maniacally starting new projects. If left to their own devices, Dreamers would never get anything done. How to spot Dreamers: They are probably dressed in ironic plaid and working beneath a pile of desk clutter. They'll remember random culture references, but will forget basic survival necessities. Time eludes them.

“Dreamers are fun to be around, but they struggle to stay focused. In their ideas frenzy, they are liable to forget to return phone calls, complete current projects, even pay the rent. While Dreamers are more likely than anyone to conceive of brilliant solutions, they are less likely to follow through."
(Though they may never admit it, Dreamers benefit from Doer structure.)

2. Doers – Focused on logistics and execution. They can get mired in the details. Doers need to be empowered and suppressed at different phases in the creative process. How to identify Doers: Their work areas and lives are immaculately maintained. Chaos makes them nervous. Doers are stellar time managers.
They ask, “How are we going to implement this?” “While Dreamers will quickly fall in love with an idea, Doers will start with doubt and chip away at the idea until they love it (or, often, discount it). As Doers break an idea down, they become action-oriented organizers and valuable stewards." 
(When they're not annoyed with them, Doers are inspired by Dreamers.)

 3. Incrementalists – Can play both roles. However, they sometimes sacrifice quality for quantity.
“An Incrementalist is able to bask in idea generation, distill the Action Steps needed, and then push ideas into action with tenacity.” Incrementalists may seem like the best of all worlds, but they “have the tendency to conceive and execute too many ideas simply because they can. This rare capability can lead to an overwhelming set of responsibilities to maintain multiple projects at the expense of ever making one particular project an extraordinary success.” 
(Incrementalists can deliver alone for awhile, but will go the distance with support from Dreamers and Doers.)

So, what personality are you? 
Ideally, your team is made up of a mixture of these three personalities. All add value and have their strengths. When they are all working together, ideas happen.

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