We are kick-starting our book club with Jennifer Mueller’s book Creative Change Why we resist it….how we can embrace it. In this book Jennifer Mueller asks some hard hitting questions about why we reject those creative solutions we love and challenges our perceptions of what innovation is. Join our VP of Sales, Diane Flinders, for the next three weeks as she tackles Creative Change and lends us her insights!
Let’s dig into it:
Group work encompasses a significant investment in time for most employees. Whether it be the work of a research team, a design team, or a management team our roles at work rarely exclude some form of group work. Meeting corporate goals, developing a new product, streamlining a business process we understand the contribution of a team will lead to greater results rather than relying on an idea generated by one person working in isolation. In fact, we understand the dynamic of group work so deeply that our education system at the primary and secondary level have begun teaching in group settings to foster problem solving in a social circle.
The fascinating work of groups has been researched extensively to gain better understanding. We want to pin point what makes some highly effective while others produce results at either a slower pace or at higher costs. Every business relies on the work of individuals that can function in a team setting to produce ideas, create market disruptions, and move the company forward effectively while maintaining a high rate of efficiency. Getting the most “Bang for the Buck” is a mantra that prevails in most conference rooms or team brainstorming meetings as creative ideas are analyzed, compared, and finally chosen as a strategic course of action that will set the course for company growth.
The question becomes after these brainstorming sessions, “ah ha’s” and “Eureka’s”, why do most companies find it difficult to move past the idea generation/consensus stage and move into the implementation phase? In Jennifer Mueller’s book Creative Change Why we resist it….how we can embrace it, we discover hidden behaviors that take bold new ideas and cast shadows the malign support, derail momentum, and finally leave the team with a new problem. How to fix the old problem?
The first discovery that Jennifer Mueller makes is that of how the world of teamwork has evolved over the past few generations. As we have moved from process driven work, top down, systematic work which was founded in the industrial age and lead to Total Quality Management™ (TQM) we are now decades later evolved into an organic multi-faceted work group. Idea generation is no longer the stumbling block. In fact, Mueller identifies through her work “Creative” ideas are highly abundant. The stumbling block lies more in the step between idea generation and idea implementation.
The power of the group when found to be highly functional has proven it self to be superior to the power of one. However, as Jennifer Mueller points out the productivity of the team is not merely reliant on each member completing a task in a linear fashion. The power of the team is significantly impacted by the psychological beliefs each team member brings to the group. To become highly functional the team must collectively agree and then work to achieve the mutually agreed upon goal. The creative change the team has identified soon becomes either the impetus that launches the team forward or hurdle that drags them down. Personal beliefs systems become hidden barriers that as time moves forward things pop up, old habits take over, and what was once a good idea becomes fraught with uncertainty. These personal hidden barriers lead to an unintentional path that wears down ideas and tramples “Creative Change”.
Understanding that work is impacted by psychological decisions is the key to unleashing team health. We will explore Jennifer Mueller’s perspective on how to reveal and reset our current mindset.