Bob Lieberman's Blog

Commentary and Tools For Empowering Change

Exploration: Not all fun and games

Today I had my first experience being dissed on the net. Not much fun, of course, but after getting over the shock I realized it's actually an opportunity, because a new channel of communication has opened (heated though it may be).

Here's the quote:
Bob knows very little it seems to me about creativity and the ''reality'' of reality....but it looks like a great way to sell something to a group of people who 'know' even less. Ho-hum!
As you can see, my ideas have now reached beyond friendly shores (where all ideas start), and that's good news.

This watershed brings to mind an interesting characteristic of the creative process that is often overlooked. According to the model I use (Explore, Challenge, Produce, Appreciate), exploring is an activity essential to creativity. It is commonly avoided in the workplace, and that's one reason so few organizations are led creatively.

I've been attributing that avoidance to the common misperception that exploring is an unproductive and unaccountable waste of time. But now I see there's another deterrent, namely that exploring exposes conflict.

In that respect, my Explore activity resembles Bruce Tuckman's Storming stage of team-development. In Tuckman's model (aka Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing), team members have to get comfortable with each other before they can start working through their conflicts. Storming is his name for the conflict stage that they must survive if they expect to reach their full potential.

When I teach the creative process to business leaders, some eyes open very wide when we get to the Explore activity. For some, its value does not seem compelling. But now that I see the parallel with Tuckman's work, my task may get easier. Developing a creative organization may be not sufficiently compelling (or even meaningful) to many business leaders. But developing teams that perform to their full potential certainly is. Either way it's a creative process, so you creative leaders take note!