Opposites may attract, but in business, people who are very similar in characteristics and behavior often are drawn to each other. Consequently, without realizing it, project teams or business unit leaders may not foster the collaborative environment needed to propel creative ideas to see the light of day and move with speed from ideation to execution.
According to a recent Insigniam survey, 66% of change initiatives fail. There are a variety of reasons for change to fail, one of which is that change is often spurred through creative thinking and execution is the culprit.
An innovative idea remains just that if it never gets out of the gate. Let’s think for a moment that a new innovative idea hangs in the balance and is largely dependent on how a team works together to execute.
Imagine the outcome if the team’s introverts, who are typically quiet thinkers and listeners who synthesize and analyze, collaborated by design with the have-no-fear extroverts, who love big ideas, and lots of them? That’s the start of an innovation pipeline.
Is teaming like-minded people the best approach?
A partner who provides services to our firm recently shared an entertaining dinner story of his boyhood dream-team vision. He thought it would be an interesting idea to hire only Leos to launch a new company – people who typically (if you follow astrology) are outgoing, creative, talkative, natural born-leaders, organizers, gregarious, smart and engaging. Let’s assume Leos are usually extroverts. An immediate vision came to mind at the table – how successful could a task team be that was made up of personalities like Barack Obama, CoCo Chanel, Bill Clinton, Lucille Ball, Whitney Houston, Alfred Hitchcock, James Cameron, Madonna, Napoleon and Don Ho? You get the picture – and, humor aside, metaphorically this is what often happens.
Needless to say, as the story continued, the idea was never pursued, as the obvious came to light. His start-up company would have a lot of fun, creativity, expressive behavior, plenty of great ideas and the ease to sell those ideas. But, with too many similar personalities, there would be no one to throttle the energy, do the insightful analysis, and execute.
Discovering New Ways Of Operating Creates Pathways To Innovation
One of the foundational things that Insigniam helps its clients understand in looking at elevating leadership performance – especially when it comes to opening up creativity and innovative thinking— is who is leading and who is following in their organizations.
We help them understand the fabric of their unique thinking styles, differing behaviors, and prominent attributes among team members. Through this focus, clients can think about a new “way of being” by understanding the nature of how they could be operating differently. Then, the hard work of creating new possibilities and new strategic horizons can begin.
Taking it back to introverts and extroverts, a recent article in Inc. points out why introverts should partner with extroverts. Bill Stewart, a co-writer of this article and partner with an extrovert in his new company, states, “I do well pushing a relationship forward when there’s a clear view of an individual’s motivations and what we can do to help them achieve their goals.” The article frames up concepts that are sound and have also proven true with Insigniam’s Breakthrough Project approach.
Our Breakthrough Project approach helps leaders see and understand not only new possibilities, but, as mentioned above, also new ways of operating [with each other]. It is not uncommon to find that leaders who were once polarized did not really understand why (introverts and extroverts).
Once thinking is opened up and motivations are clear, they then become complementary and harmonized in their way of working with each other — on the latest big idea or step function changes that contribute to lasting change.
The moral of this story is not about astrology or that Leos can’t work together for success. It is just likely that a group of like-minded extroverts need to mix it up a bit, acknowledge each others working styles and complement with introvert thinking patterns to create an extraordinary outcome.