Thursday, July 23, 2009

Type A vs. Type B Creatives


You're given a lump of clay and invited to create something out of it. Do you...

A) Stare at the clay in quiet meditation until a clear vision emerges for what you want to create...and then take action? or

B) Dive in and start messing with the clay, letting your fingers intuitively guide you as the image of what you want to create slowly emerges?

I'm a little A, but mostly B. Very mostly B, actually.

There is no right or wrong here. Both approaches work. Both can produce great works of art. But struggles arise when a Type A Creative tries to partner with a Type B. Without understanding and appreciating their differing styles, stress and conflict between A and B are inevitable. This is true whether you're partnering with someone as a writer, a musician, or working together to launch a business or create an event--really, any creative endeavor at all.

Now, extend this principle to the creativity of a team. Is your team as a whole more Type A, or Type B (creatively speaking)? So what happens if there's a mix of both types on a team?

Deadlock.

I had this conversation with a team just this past week, and, frankly, it was awesome. We'd been creatively deadlocked for quite some time and really didn't know why. But just by talking for a few minutes about these two main approaches to creativity, then going around the room and having each person name which type he or she was, the deadlock collapsed. Now that we know what was blocking our way, we can design new agreements for working together in a way that honors both creative styles--a little sit and stare, a little messin' with the clay.

Which Creative Type are you? A or B?

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