Posts Tagged ‘organisational psychology’

The Secret Ingredient of Creativity for Profit & Productivity

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve noticed, as I go around talking to organisations about diagnosing, understanding and harnessing their creativity to improve their business practices, that there is one crucial ingredient of creativity that most people don’t know about. This makes me think that idea Incubation might be the secret ingredient of innovation and problem solving.

Some people, like Steve Jobs, know the secret automatically, but you can learn to use it too.

What is Incubation, and how does it work?

Incubation is what we do when we stop thinking intensely and deliberately about something, and allow our brains and thoughts to flow. Incubation is the process of allowing yourself to think about things at an unconscious level, and using it results in “Eureka”, or “light-bulb” moments and break-through ideas.  All “creatives” know how it works, and they use it deliberately to help them solve problems, create innovations and exploit opportunities.

Incubation should be factored in to any problem solving process, whether it’s developing new products, improving teamwork, knowing how to lead effectively or generally adapting effectively and well to change. Incubation is the secret ingredient for staying ahead of the game.

So how can you make it work for you?

The process of creative problem solving requires a number of elements coming together, and all human beings have an inbuilt ability to do it.  When we use Incubation, whether deliberately or not, we allow ourselves to percolate ideas from deep inside, without directly thinking about them.

This process involves a change of scenery or activity. It explains why sometimes we have breakthrough ideas or find solutions in our sleep or when we are in the shower. By changing the way your thought patterns operate, you can allow your brain to “free-range” and this change allows your brain to see patterns, put pieces together and join the dots.

While some people know how to deliberately use Incubation, everyone can learn how to do it. You can learn how to deliberately factor in Incubation time to your personal or organisational processes. Companies like Google and Pixar are famous for using various Incubation techniques, like allowing free time for employees and having free-form work places that provide various activities like talking, playing sports and walking around the grounds, and they have reaped the rewards by becoming dominating players in their fields.

But you don’t need to invest in new buildings or huge organisational change. It’s easy to learn how to increase and exercise Incubation. There are a number of exercises you can do (and which we can help you with) or you can do it yourself. On a personal level, you can go for walks, do crossword puzzles, look at the sea, play a game of squash, or doodle. Any activity that takes your mind off the problem at hand and that allows your thoughts to either roam freely or be focussed on an entirely different activity will do the trick. On an organisational level, you can introduce the deliberate use of Incubation into your decision-making processes.

The key is to understand that Incubation is crucial and necessary to the creativity process, and that with a small investment in time, and learning to understand how it works, you can maximise the production of all innovative solutions.

Working creatively and smart maximises individual and organisational out-put, productivity, ideas and innovation, problem solving, time management and ultimately financial and every other sort of profit.

Make Incubation your friend, and put it to good use.

 

To her surprise, she found the great detective, engaged in building card houses. 

“It is not, Mademoiselle, that I have become childish in my old age. No. But the building of card houses, I have always found it most stimulating to the mind.”

Hercule Poirot, Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on the heading to leave a comment

Related posts:

Creativity in the Workplace

How to Spot an Original Thinker

Why IBM found Creativity = Business Success

Creativity: The Essence of Being Australian

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Social Trends: The New Conservatism?

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Social change and trends relate intimately to the world of work and work life balance, and understanding social changes, mores and norms is an important tool for leaders and employers, and anyone who has an interest in understanding how human nature works. Hopefully, that’s all of us.

The increasing focus on gay marriage in Australia and across the western world brings movements in social change into close focus.

At first glance, the call for allowing gay marriage looks like a move to increased social liberality and equality. Homosexuality has increasingly, and rightly, lost its stigma in modern society and most people in Australia currently believe that the gay community, like anyone else, should have the right to marriage.

But if we look beyond the gay question, it seems that the thing that no-one is questioning anymore is the institution of marriage itself.

In the 1960’s and 70’s the institution of marriage came under serious philosophical and social attack. As a result of the general social disillusionment resulting from the Second World War, marriage became a central target in the rise of liberalism and new social tolerance with the rise of Second-wave Feminism, general social liberality, the Anti-War Movement, the Sexual Revolution largely brought about by the introduction of the Pill, the Hippie Movement, and the tearing down of the influence of the Church and general conservatism.

To social reformers, and the generation who are now referred to as Baby Boomers, there was no place in an enlightened, socially tolerant society for the institution of marriage. Marriage symbolised social conservatism, slavery and ownership of women by men, and religious, sexual and social tyranny. In a huge wave of change, a generation began to foreswear the dominance of marriage, and its role in a modern, tolerant society began to be over-turned.

There were various ways that this was enacted: women stopped changing their names and wearing wedding rings when they married, the practice of calling women by the titles of “Miss” or “Mrs” which defined them by their marital status (and thus whether they were “available” or not) when men were not labelled in this way became largely redundant, and very many people refused to be married at all.

Some of the effects of this huge social change have remained, most notably that now most couples don’t think twice about living together without being married, and most people wouldn’t think to disapprove of this. Children born to parents who are not married are no longer stigmatised and we refer to couples as “partners” now, whether they are married or not, heterosexual or gay.

But many of the effects have disappeared, and I think this indicates a New Conservatism that most of us are not aware of. There seems to be a growing trend for young women to change their names when they marry, for girls and young women to fantasise about weddings and associated paraphernalia without any apparent social guilt or embarrassment, and for wedding rings to have returned without a thought. You can even buy Bride Dolls again! These seem to be a part of a general and growing conservatism, evidenced by things like increasing hero-worship of soldiers and the new reverence for Anzac Day, and the return of blatant sexism to all sorts of advertising (is it just me, or have you noticed that TV and print ads are looking just like the 1950’s?) and other forms of social culture.

It’s an interesting turn of events.

The question of gay marriage should make us re-visit what we think the role of marriage should be in modern life. Is it a religious ritual? Is it a secular rite and right? Is it to ensure the stable upbringing of children? Is it a public statement of personal commitment? Is it a financial contract? Is it between two people regardless of gender? Or even, as was often said in the past, is it to protect women when they “lose their looks”?!

I make no judgements about marriage, and am married myself. But I can’t help noticing certain shifts in social trends and I know a ship is steered more safely if we know what lies beneath the surface. We can manage our staff, our roles, our relationships and ourselves better if we recognise and understand underlying social trends and structures.

Human beings should never be judged by their sexuality, but what does the return of the unquestioning of the institution of marriage mean in a society that clearly regards itself as liberal, sophisticated and enlightened? Are we really being more inclusive and tolerant, or are we just homogenising apparent “difference”? Have we become more enlightened, or just more conservative? And has anyone noticed?

“Curiouser and Curiouser”, said Alice.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on the heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.


 

Easter Time: Celebration & Symbolism

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Easter time is one of my favourite times of year, because in Australia around Easter the light is gentle, crisp and golden. In contrast to its underlying symbolism and meaning, Easter in the Southern Hemisphere is in autumn and in Australia there is a mellowness and relief in the air, as though the earth is resting from the intensity of summer, and gently closing itself in, in preparation for the hibernation of winter soon to come.

Easter itself is a celebration of spring and resurrection. Like Christmas, Christianity’s association with Easter came much later than its deep pre-Christian roots and symbolism.

In Christianity, the three days of Easter reflect and remember the story of the death of Jesus. Good Friday represents the day Jesus was put to death by the Romans, and so is a day of sorrow, and Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing because in the Christian story, Jesus was resurrected two days after his death.

Tales of resurrection are not confined to Christianity. The Ancient Greeks, for instance, celebrated the story of Adonis, and carried effigies of his body through the streets in his honour, the Egyptians had the story of Osiris, and there are resurrection stories in many cultures including Scandinavian and Indigenous American and Australian cultures. The Graeco-Roman hero Heracles (Hercules) descended into Hades and returned, and was later rewarded with immortality by the gods.

Resurrection stories reflect the seasons of the earth and the cycle of life. Food crops are our main human source of sustenance, and these are closely and directly tied to the seasons. Spring is a time of replanting and renewal, and is a time of rejoicing after a long period of winter months of hardship and hibernation. The warmth and promise of spring enliven us and give us optimism and energy.

All the symbols of Easter then are symbols of fertility, resurrection and celebration. Eggs symbolise imminent rebirth, rabbits symbolise fertility, hot-cross buns which are traditionally eaten by Christians on Good Friday, represent the abundant use of dried fruits which historically got us through winter and which can be used up extravagantly with the return of spring and the coming of fresh fruit. Western and some other Christians have added decorative crosses to symbolise Christian understanding of death and resurrection. The bright colours with which we paint and now wrap eggs is a symbol of our collective joy at the return of spring and the “rebirth” of the earth following the “death” of winter.

The instinct for celebration and symbolism is central to our human psyche and keeps us alive, optimistic and looking forward. Whether we’re Christian or not, celebration and symbolism make us who we are as individuals, cultural groups and as a species.

Happy Easter!

And if you’re in the mood for irony, here’s a spoof Goo Egg ad!

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Adelaide Festival Time!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Adelaide is at its best at festival time, and right now the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Adelaide Fringe Festival are in full swing, and Womadelaide begins tomorrow.

The buzz in Adelaide at festival time is amazing. The streets and parks are full of life, colour and energy.  Adelaidians love a party, and they flock to the city at festival time where they go to shows, stay up late, wander through The Garden of Unearthly Delights in Rymill Park, spend all weekend listening to world music under the trees in the Botanic Park, and throng, dozens deep, around buskers from around the world in Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s central shopping precinct.

People come from across Australia and the world to attend and to perform. The Festival of Arts is a premier international event and the leading arts festival in Australia. It’s responsible for bringing major, groundbreaking shows, events and performances to Australia, and for introducing much new work, ideas and discussion and debate. The Festival includes an extensive programme of free performances, exhibitions and discussion forums, while the Fringe Festival brings significant colour, edge and spectacle to a normally quiet and quite conservative city.

A Fringe Festival is a spin-off from a mainstream arts festival. Arts festivals draw audiences and participants, and they also draw buskers and other performers and artists who come to see the festival, to be around the general environment and atmosphere, and who stage casual or impromptu performances and events on “the fringe” of an official festival. In Adelaide, like Edinburgh, the Fringe Festival rivals the popularity of the main festival, and has become an independent event. In Adelaide, the Fringe is so popular that it is held annually and autonomously, and though it doesn’t seem to have lost it’s edge, it has become like a grown up child.

I love to be in Adelaide during festival time, and always try to be here then, especially since our Adelaide rooms overlook Rymill Park, the hub of the Fringe Festival. Every day here at the moment almost feels as exciting as being at the circus, as crowds of people go past our windows on their way to the events at the park, stop for coffee on the footpaths of the coffee shops surrounding us, and groups of little school children look like flocks of birds chirping excitedly with looks of wonder and glee. Yesterday, a group of about thirty 5-year olds dressed in purple uniforms and big sun hats looked like little walking, giggling mushrooms rushing past.

Though I’m a Sydney girl, my connection to Adelaide began before I was born when my mother came to Adelaide as a graphic artist and worked here for 6 months in an advertising agency. “A working holiday” she always called it. Her time in Adelaide struck her so deeply that I spent my childhood hearing stories of the elegance and sophistication of the city, the beauty of the country around Kapunda where the houses were wondrously rendered with mud that held ancient relics like shark’s teeth, and of towns where German settlers had established communities like Hahndorf and the towns of the Barossa Valley.

So Adelaide is my second home, and it feels etched into my being. Though the Adelaide Festival of Arts didn’t exist in my mother’s time here, her love of Adelaide was based on the very real commitment to and love of the arts and culture that the city has always had at its heart and which the Adelaide Festival of Arts embodies.

Sometimes in Adelaide I miss the hoards of people I’m used to in Sydney and the other bigger Australian cities. But festival time in Adelaide makes up for that. Right now, I’m fairly sure that Adelaide is the most vibrant and dynamic place in Australia to be. It’s festival time in Adelaide!

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

Creative Innovation 2011 Conference

A Room with a View

Sydney Trapeze School

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Who Are You? “Know Thyself”

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Since ancient times, when Know Thyself was inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, people have known that it is important to understand as much as we can about ourselves.  For years, philosophers, psychologists and ordinary people have asked themselves, “Who am I?”

It’s an important question, because the more you know about yourself, the more you understand what makes you happy, what sort of things you are good at, what paths in life you can take, what work you should choose to do and how you fit into the rest of the world.

Psychometrics is a branch of Psychology which aims to help answer the question, “Who Are You?”. Psychometrics does this by asking a person a number of questions and then statistically collating the answers so that a clear and accurate picture is produced. Some people know who they are, what their abilities and values are and what careers they are good at and that make them feel satisfied and fulfilled. But most of us are not so clear.

By completing psychometric tests and assessments, we can find out a lot about ourselves, including what sort of personality we have, how we like to learn, what our strengths and weaknesses, what kind of jobs we are likely to succeed in, and how we like to interact with other people.

Psychometrics can be used in a variety of ways and for many reasons: clinical practitioners use psychometrics to diagnose various conditions and disorders, employers often use psychometrics to help select candidates for job roles or to develop their staff, psychometrics can be used to diagnose creativity and increase innovation, or for career guidance, and psychometrics is even used by dating agencies to match potential “soul mates”!

If we know who we are and how we like to work, we can make better decisions, better life and work choices and live happier, more productive and satisfied lives.

 

 Watch Video: Who Are You? The Who

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

Keep Psychometric Assessment Scientific

More “Style” than Substance

Psychometric Juggernaut: SHL & Previsor Merge

Cheating on Psych Tests

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Play to Your Strengths

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

When I was a child growing up in the middle suburbs of Sydney, every household seemed to religiously read The Australian Women’s Weekly. It was a cultural and social mainstay: both a barometer and a bible.

One of the main things I learned from the Women’s Weekly is to play to your strengths. Over and over again, and in various ways, The Weekly published articles about how to emphasize your good points and disguise or compensate for your bad ones. (What shape is your face? How do you disguise a pear-shaped body? How do you make narrow shoulders look wider? What is your best colour?) From these articles I grew up learning how to look for my good features and compensate for the ones I didn’t like so much.

Though the lesson was generally intended to apply to your appearance, the regularity of these articles over many years became deeply entrenched in me, and I expect all the other young readers, and it soon became such second nature that it wasn’t hard to apply the principle to my whole life, not just to the way I looked.

I came to understand that the same principles are taught in sportbusiness, advertising, graphic art, leadership and coaching, and that they apply to every area of successful life management. In graphic art for instance, we are taught to quickly grab the attention of the viewer and convey the message instantly and effectively, and you need to understand the best points of something to be able to do that. In sport, we play our best players and team combination, put them in the right positions for their talents, teach them to compensate for each others flaws, and we understand to “never change a winning team”.

Yesterday, our Genesys Australia team examined our creativity & problem-solving profile. We have assessed many other teams and groups recently, and we decided it was time we “put our money where our mouth is” and looked at our selves.

Looking at our collective strengths and weaknesses, and examining how these fit with our aims, practice and style as an organization, I was reminded of the Women’s Weekly and it’s lesson to know yourself, and I was extremely gratified to have the opportunity to see how we all looked as a team and to see where our strengths and weaknesses lie.

We combined our individual results from the me2 Diagnostic, and examined our team in terms of the dimensions, which include idea generation, personality, motivation and confidence. We charted these on graphs, so that we could clearly see how we all fit together.

Our over-all score is well above average, which is reassuring in a post GFC world, where organizations need to be ready to constantly change and adapt.  As a group, we are high on fluency, idea generation and confidence in sharing ideas. We performed well on achievement and incubating ideas, and can see how we can increase these areas further. Though still in the average range, our lower score was in competiveness, which, after some discussion, we believe is consistent with our strong service-based ethic to help our clients solve their problems. It also reflects that we are both a psychology practice and a very cohesive collaborative team whose members work closely and well together. But we will keep our eye on this – perhaps we need to develop ourselves a bit more in this area and we will introduce some exercises and measures to help us.

The graphs showed a very creative team that has many healthy elements of diversity, and yes, strengths and weaknesses.

By understanding your strengths you can obviously use them to your best advantage, and you do this by minimising or reducing weaknesses and by using, fine-tuning and developing strengths. Many people waste a lot of time concentrating on weaknesses but they are only part of the picture. The key is to play to your strengths which means know your weaknesses and minimise them, but focus on and hone your strengths.

The Australian Women’s Weekly taught me that you can’t play to your strengths unless you know what they are. Yesterday, using the me2 Diagnostic, our team gained a clearer and more focused idea of how to do that. And it gave us a reassuring sense of understanding and self-confidence.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

How to Spot an Original Thinker

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

When I Grow Up : Career Guidance

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Yesterday I met an old school friend for the first time since we were very young adults. Now that we are much older and our careers are well and truly established, it was interesting to talk about how our lives have turned out, and how we both got to where we are now.

My friend David McCaughan is at the top of his game. He is a senior executive for a major, world-wide advertising & marketing agency. At high school, we both studied Ancient History, and were in the school debating team, and when David left school, the first decade of his working life was spent working as a childrens’ story-teller in a public library. At school, David had a clear intelligence and a sophisticated wit, but back then, nobody thought to tell him that advertising was a career choice he could or should pursue, let alone excel at. Looking back though, I can see that advertising was a natural fit for him. But he came to it circuitously.

Finding a natural fit is what career guidance is all about. A natural career fit will almost certainly ensure a successful career and happy life.

As we retold our stories and recounted our lives since school, one thing David and I have in common was very clear: we’ve both had interesting lives in which we’ve been prepared to explore and meander. We’ve been willing to go out and see. I’ve noticed this before in the lives of other successful and happy people. One of the advantages of middle age is that you get to see how things turned out, and over and over again I’ve seen that the most successful and apparently satisfied and happy of my old friends are the ones who were prepared to see new places and try new things.

Here are some of the things that seem to produce a successful career and life:

Do what you are good at

Even at school, David was always good at talking and story telling. He’s also intelligent and good at joining dots, which led him to study Political Science. He says that story-telling in the library for 10 years and studying Ancient History at school underlie his work in advertising & marketing. It makes sense: advertising is about telling a story and joining dots (seeing connections & solving problems).

If you are good at maths, then you should pursue that, if you cook really well then you should cook. If you are good at sport, then follow that.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll end up in your first, perhaps most obvious job choice, but it sets you on a path that is natural and more effortless for you to pursue.

Do what you like to do

This should closely follow the previous point. It makes sense that most people automatically like what they are good at, because they receive positive feedback both from the task and other people.

But don’t do something only because you are good at it. If you are good at maths, but hate it, don’t become an accountant just because everyone tells you how good you are with numbers.

If you are engaged by your work, then you are more than halfway there to a successful career. You’ve got to love what you do if you want a successful career and happy life.

Don’t be afraid to go out and try things

How will you know what’s out there unless you go and have a look? How will you know what you are good at? Experiment, try new things, meet people, explore, discover and follow your nose.

Be prepared to play the long game

In life, as in theatre and sport, it’s all about the timing. Trying new jobs, exploring and building up experience takes time. Be prepared for that. You need to develop tenacity and a long-term focus.

Your career will be measured by where you find yourself at 50 and 60, and what you have achieved and what you have passed on to other people. Nobody will care or remember if you drove a fancy car when you were thirty, or got a promotion, and the history books or the company records certainly won’t record it.

Time your run.

 

My friend David and I are still the same people we were at school, although older and wiser. And this is the point. Our career and life choices followed who we already were, and our experience heightened and informed that. It’s no surprise to me that David is a very successful human being – he always was. He had the sense to follow his talents and his instincts, and to go out and see.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

Work Life Balance (And How to Preserve Olives)

Slam Dunk

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

St. Nicholas & the Christmas Season

Friday, December 16th, 2011

St. Nicholas is Santa’s real name. St. Nicholas, who was a 4th Century bishop, is Patron Saint of children, sailors, bakers, pawn-brokers and Russia, among other things. We have been celebrating St. Nicholas Day, which falls on 6th December, for many years, and its become a tradition among our family and friends to meet every year on St. Nicholas Day to mark the beginning of the Christmas Season.

We became aware of St. Nicholas Day years ago when we were living in Naxos, Greece, with our young children. One day, my husband went to the bank and took an extraordinarily long time. It turned out that he had been delayed because it was the bank manager’s Name Day (St. Nicholas Day) and everyone at the bank, staff and the people waiting in the queue, were served brandy and cake to celebrate.

This seemed so joyous and generous to us that we determined that day to apply this same generosity of spirit to our own lives, and especially to our celebration of Christmas. In Australia, we had become put off and a bit jaded by the tackiness, greed and emptiness that Christmas seemed to be becoming. In Naxos, where people lived simply as they had done for thousands of years and many in Naxos Town still lived in one-room houses and had little money for luxuries, they never-the-less found the time, spirit and wisdom to constantly celebrate life. They did this by meeting in the tavernas every evening, promenading along the Paralia on Sunday mornings after church in their Sunday Best, meeting, talking and even cooking in the ancient alleys and serving brandy at the bank.

For my family, St. Nicholas Day has come to represent the celebration of the real spirit of Christmas. As Patron Saint of children, St. Nicholas is the ideal symbol of Christmas, which is a celebration of human hope and renewal through it’s focus on the birth of a symbolic child, and it’s roots in the more ancient winter festival to hasten the return of the sun and the summer harvest.

This year, like every year, we gathered to celebrate St. Nicholas Day and the spirit of family, children, friendship and generosity that St. Nicholas represents. Now, the Christmas Season is in full swing, and we wish you, your colleagues, family and friends great joy.

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Why IBM Found Creativity = Business Success

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

In 2010, IBM published the Global Survey of CEOs 2010 and found that,

“More than rigour, management, discipline, integrity or even vision – successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity”.

IBM and the more than 1500 CEOs they interviewed from 60 different countries are not alone are in this view. Ernst & Young in their Connecting Innovation to Profit Report, 2010 said,

“The ability to manage, organise, cultivate and nurture creative thinking is directly linked to growth and achievement.”

Why is creativity so important?

Creativity underpins everything we do. It’s hard-wired into our DNA. We can’t help but be creative. Creativity is the ability to solve problems and exploit opportunities. It’s what got us out of the caves and experimenting and discovering. As a species, we have an insatiable desire to make new things, to see what we can do with what we’ve got, to invent and discover, to play with ideas and to see if we can push things to the limit.

Creativity is the raw material of innovation, or in other words, innovation is creativity put into action.

This means that to change and adapt, to invent and develop, to find solutions, to lead well, to get and stay ahead of the pack, to grow and flourish and ultimately to succeed financially, we need creativity. And it follows that the individuals and organisations who can harness their creativity the most will do the best, especially in the post GFC world of constant rapid change.

Creativity applies to everyone.

It’s a myth that only some people are creative, like artists or designers, or that creativity applies to the arts and innovation applies to science or engineering.

We believe and perpetuate these myths to our individual and organisational peril. Everyone left alone on a dessert island would display creativity because they would find that necessity is the mother of invention. They’d look for food, build shelter, cloth themselves in ways they might never have thought of before in order to survive.  They’d use their natural, innate creativity.

Why not get as smart as we can and learn to harness our creativity in business?

During the GFC, in our workplace psychology practice, we noticed that the old ways of doing business, finding staff and operating organisations were fast becoming less relevant. Organisations were “stripping fat”, and cutting back spending on things like recruitment and non-essential training, and looking for new and expedient and cost-effective ways of doing things, and expecting more value for the money they did spend. This attitude seems to have remained.

So we started researching products and theories that would help identify and develop the new imperative to think smart and to change and adapt.

Earlier this year, we discovered that from research at Manchester Business School, a new tool for the workplace had just been developed that identified underlying creativity. If you could assess creativity, and work out in what ways individuals were creative and how they applied their innate creativity, then you could use this information to understand, develop and train individuals and organisations to apply creativity more effectively. Impressively simple idea!

It was what we were looking for, and we knew it was what was so widely needed in the world of business and organisations.

So, we have just launched the new me2 Creativity Diagnostic Tool after a three-month Australian validity study in which we assessed hundreds of people from across the country from many different areas and levels of the workplace. The more we trialled it, the more accuracy we saw, and as a psychology practice, the data really impressed us. Having been used in 41 countries by over 3,500 people so far, it is showing no bias for age, ethnicity or language and the research suggests it is predicting 86% variance for creativity compared to the 3-14% that other tools like Myers-Briggs (MBTI), the Big Five and Hogan Development Survey predict.

The me2 Diagnostic Tool by E-METRIXX is based on years of solid research and development into the psychology of creativity by Dr. Mark Batey and the Psychometrics at Work Research Group from Manchester University. We like it because of the credible research, because it works so well and because it is extremely user friendly.

One of our clients described it the other day as “the sexiest new HR tool” and I think he’s right. It’s very exciting, and also quite humbling, to know that you are introducing a new way of understanding and doing things into the workplace.

Can everyone be creative? You bet!

What has creativity got to do with business? Everything! It underpins innovation, problem-solving, team work and leadership and has unlimited potential to apply to profit as well.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

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* We were asked to conduct a study on creativity using the me2 Creativity Diagnostic for the forthcoming Creative Innovation 2011 Conference in Melbourne featuring Edward De Bono & sponsored by ANZ, the Financial Review & Business Review Weekly. The report will be published in the conference program and is available on the conference website

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Building Real Relationships

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Yesterday I met Adelaide recruiter Nicole Underwood. I met her because I’d read her blogs and had responded to an underlying sense of genuineness, humanity and enthusiasm that I recognized in her writing. Nicole came to visit us in our Adelaide rooms where we sat and looked over Rymill Park drinking coffee and talking about life, recruiting, HR, and starting over. The important thing though, is that we found that the intention to be genuine and authentic, and the medium of writing, can bring people together.

Nicole has recently left Entree Recruitment which she helped to found with Mark Hender over 10 years ago. She left a company thriving, and which she can feel satisfied that she built with her own vision, hard work and innovation. Her philosophy for work and life, which comes through strongly in her conversation, is that she cares about people, and believes that looking after them, either when they are her team or her clients is the way to build satisfaction, relationships and success.

In our industry, recruiters can sometimes have a reputation for being hard-nosed and abrupt, whether deservedly or not. Nicole’s attitude goes a long way to show that this isn’t always the case and doesn’t have to be. Especially since the GFC, recruitment is changing and recruiters seem to have found more and more that they are being asked to show evidence of the value of the services they provide.

Having an attitude of building good, firm, genuine relationships is an example of someone understanding the real value of service and care. You would want to employ the services of someone who you think means it, who’ll listen to you and your needs, who’ll make and retain good long-term relationships and who makes people feel good and secure in their company.

Whether in business, or life, people want to have relationships and feel connected to other people. It’s the way we are made. Our species is gregarious, and we thrive in groups. Recruitment, and every other business is no different. It takes time and effort to build strong, genuine relationships with people, but the effort pays off over the long term. It pays off in trust, respect and ultimately success.

It was a delight to meet Nicole yesterday, and it will be a pleasure to watch her build her next business. The fact that we connected via social networking and  Jo Knox’s idea to build an HR Daily Community of bloggers shows that in work and life, people recognize and respond to genuine connection. It’s what it means to be human. Thanks Jo, and thanks Nicole.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

Art Imitates Lfe, Life Imitates LinkedIn: Online Citizenship

Leadership and Good Manners

Murder in the Village: Teamwork & Community

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.