Biblical Leadership
3/15/12 at 01:04 PM 0 Comments

Chapter 1: Creativity is still a one-brain affair

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This and future posts will summarize each of the 66 chapters in Leading from the Lions' Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible.

Leadership Principle #1
Creative leaders coax the best thinking out of individuals before calling a brainstorming session.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." – Gen 1:1

Many organizations foster creative teamwork through collaborative instant messaging, chat windows, discussion boards, and project groups.

Though today's online cooperation might appear to be a new kind of brainstorming, it's actually based on an ancient model of creativity. The concept is simple: the best creative thinking is done when individuals have a chance to think before they collaborate.

Not everyone thinks well in groups. Especially introverts like me. We need time to cogitate and organize our thoughts before verbalizing them.

The original act of divine creativity in Genesis was executed by one mind (notwithstanding the Trinity). God didn't wait to ask us what we wanted. His vision was clear.

Later, humans had their chance to invent and originate, but not until the Lord had completed his foundational work. Why shouldn't this be our model for creativity, too?

We can infer from God's method of creativity that teams shouldn't necessarily be exalted over individuals.

The problem with group brainstorming sessions, say social researchers, is that they rarely enhance the quantity or quality of ideas. There are several reasons:

1. The fear of peer evaluation.
2. Listening to other ideas can cause us to forget our own.
3. Sometimes people simply don't have enough time to think of anything.
4. "Social loafing" kicks in when some in the group go silent because they think their contributions aren't valued, or because they can't compete with the bolder group members. As a result, the quieter people's ideas go unspoken.

A simple solution to these issues is to collect everyone's thoughts before the meeting, freeing them to think without distractions, anxiety, or time constraints. The leader collects the ideas and e-mails the anonymous list to the group. After refinement, the team meets in person to expand or combine the top-voted ideas.

When you need a creative solution, remember the Genesis model. First analyze the issue without group influence. You'll then be able lead your team through the creative process at maximum efficiency.

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