Creativity Information

What Every Manager Should Know About How to Think Creatively


You may have heard of Roger von Oech's book, A Whack on the Side of the Head: How to Unlock Your Mind for Innovation. It's as much fun to read as its title suggests. It covers the ten common obstacles to creative thinking. It's about ways in which you can unlock your mind for innovation, for change, for more interest, or even for a career change.

Mr. Von Oech writes about the time when his English teacher in high school put a small chalk dot on the blackboard and asked the class to tell him what it was. A few seconds passed, and then someone said, "It's a chalk dot on the board." The rest of the class seemed relieved that the obvious had been stated, and no one else had anything more to say.

"I'm surprised at you," replied the teacher, "Yesterday I did the same exercise with a group of kindergartners, and they thought of fifty different things the chalk mark could be:

* a cat's eye,
* a cigar butt,
* a star,
* a pebble,
* a squashed bug,
* a rotten egg,
* a head,
* and so on.

The lesson that I wish to share with you is the importance of looking for more than one right answer. When you look, you will be surprised to learn how many answers are available.

We have been trained in school to look only for the first right answer to every problem. The average person does this; the creative person looks for many.

Looking beyond the first solution to a problem can result in a whole new set of serendipitous solutions - solutions that can be a hundred times better than the first one.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don't, we all lose.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in ezines, newsletters, and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required. Contact him at: executiveandgroup-consulting@yahoo.com when you use this article.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts lectures, seminars, webinars, and writes articles on his theme: "... helping you maximize your potential." He offers management, marketing, and parenting resources at hisMaximizing Y our Potential blog.


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