Top tips and Techniques for Developing Creativity
and Productivity -
Jurgen Wolff - Brainstorm e-Bulletin
Jurgen has kindly allowed me to reprint this article from
his monthly Brainstorm e-Bulletin - subscrition details at the end
of his great article!
The other day someone asked me, "In all the years you've been
researching creativity and productivity, what are the top tips and
techniques that you use yourself and that have stood the test of
time?" That struck me as a great theme for this month's e-bulletin,
so below you'll find my answer.
5: Positives, Potential, and Concerns
This is a great way to communicate when you're part of a team or
feedback to one person.
Whatever you're discussing, you start with the positives, the things
you find good about the idea. Then you talk briefly about its potential,
that is, in what ways it could be something really special. Only
then do you voice your concerns, and in a particular way: as problems
that can be solved. For example, rather than saying, "There's
no way we can get this done in time," you might say, "Let's
talk about what resources we'd need in order to get this done in
time, and how we can get them." You will find that meetings
that might otherwise have been confrontational, with everybody defending
their own viewpoint, become much more constructive.
ACTION: Try this the next time you have a meeting
in which someone's ideas are being discussed. You may also want
to try it in a personal context--for example, when trying to get
your children to behave differently. You'd acknowledge what's right
about their current behaviour, what potential benefits a change
would bring, and then figure out together how the new behaviour
could be brought about.
4: The What Will You See and Hear Strategy for Reaching Goals
This approach to reaching goals makes the process much easier. You
start with the outcome you want. It can be something tangible (e.g.,
"To Make 50% more money from my writing") or less tangible
("To feel less stressed"). You then take a few minutes
to daydream about what things will be like when the problem has
been solved, and you specify what you will see and what you will
hear at that point.
For example, when I feel less stressed: I will see myself moving
in a calmer manner; I will see myself taking breaks at least twice
a day; I will hear my voice sounding calm; I will see my desktop
empty other than for the materials I need for the thing I'm working
on at that moment," and so on.
The next step is to take each of these things and brainstorm how
you can bring them about. For example, for the breaks, going outside
with the smokers when they take a break but instead of smoking,
taking a walk around the block. For sounding calm, taking a deep
breath before you speak.
You then start making these little changes, starting with the easiest
ones, and at some point you will reach a critical mass of changes
and the problem will have been solved.
ACTION: What is one change you'd like to make?
Take a few minutes to write out what you'll see and hear when it's
solved, and make one tiny change today. (By the way, sometimes it's
helpful to get a colleague, friend or partner help you come up with
ideas for what you'll see and hear.)
3: Secret Reminders
When you're trying to change some habit, often the hardest part
remembering to do it. A lot of self-help books suggest that you
put up sticky notes all over the place with a reminder written on
them, but I find that a bit embarrassing because other people can
see them. Instead, you can create a code for yourself and use it
for visible but secret reminders.
For example, let's say you're trying to remember to improve your
posture. Get a sheet of those sticky little dots (they come in various
colours) and put one wherever you're likely to see it. You might
stick one on your can of shaving foam or your jar of moisturizer,
or on your toothpaste tube, another on your wallet, and so on. After
a while you'll get used to seeing them, so you may need to change
colours or otherwise vary the signals so they continue to work.
ACTION: Is there a habit you'd like to change?
If it's specific to one
location or action, you can put the secret signal in just one appropriate
place. For example, if you're trying to cut down on long phone calls,
put the coloured dot on your telephone.
2: The "What's In It for Them" Approach
This approach is the key to getting people to do what you want them
to do. Simply consider ahead of time what's in it for them, and
make that benefit clear to them. We all get so hung up on what we
want, or what makes us special, that we forget the number one question
people have in their minds all the time: "What's in it for
me?" That's true whether we're pitching a project to a potential
client, trying to get a child to go to bed, or trying to attract
Mr or Ms Right. If you keep this in mind and apply it, it can transform
you communications overnight!
ACTION: The next time you want to get someone to
do something, consciously think about what's in it for them, and
spell that out for them when you make your request or give your
instruction. A good indicator that you're actually doing this is
that the word "you" will come up more often than the word
"I". Try doing this for a whole day (or better yet, a
whole week) and notice the difference.
1: The Do Something Different Strategy
Here, in the top position, is the single most important strategy
come across, and also the most neglected. It's simple: If what you're
doing isn't working, do something different! Just think for a moment
about how this could revolutionise the world if it were applied
in the Middle East, for example, where both sides are stuck in repetitive
and unsuccessful patterns. Similarly, whatever you thought about
the justness of the war on Iraq, it has clearly not yielded the
desired outcome. Will we learn from that to do something different?
ACTION: Identify one part of your life where you'd
like to make a change but find yourself doing the same thing over
and over again. It could relate to dieting, trying to get someone
to do something your way, changing one of your ownhabits, or anything
else. Brainstorm at least 3 different ways you could tackle that
challenge, and try the one that seems most likely to work. If it
doesn't, try the next one, until you find one that works. (The free
report mentioned in the PS below will help you do this.)
And last but not least, a little story to think about: A Native
grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about
a tragedy. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting
in my heart. One is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other
wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asked
him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The
grandfather answered, "The one I feed."
until next time,
Visit Jurgen's website here: www.BrainstormNet.com
Subscribe to Jurgen's Brainstorm E-Bulletin by sending an email
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