There are two types of creatives I love to have on teams I lead. Sometimes I think we recognize the first one, but fail to appreciate the second type.
Creative at shaping the vision.
These people help us see where we need to go in the future. They are thought leaders and trend setters. They test the boundaries of what’s been done in the past. They love a challenge of figuring out the untested, untried and previously unthinkable. Reality has to be proven and doesn’t come assumed for these types.
I may have described this type at an extreme, but the point is they help us dream beyond today. They stretch us as an organization. I love when I have a few people like this on teams I lead.
And I’m not sure I could handle, or it would even be healthy to have a team full of those types. We’d likely never get anything done. (I know, because I’m usually in this camp myself.) It might even be fair to say that the size of the team will determine how many of these types you need. For a small team maybe you only need one.
We often celebrate these types. They had the bright new idea and everyone got excited about it! But there is another type creative I have learned I need on teams I lead. The first type creative partners best with another type of creative. They may not get the recognition they deserve, but find one and they are gold for the team.
Creative at implementing the vision.
Once these people get a clear understanding of where the team or leader is going they figure out how to make it happen. They turn dreams into reality.
You don’t have to hold their hands through the process either. In fact, they work best if you get out of their way and let them do their magic. They creatively navigate and avoid the natural barriers to every good idea. They are strategic implementers; methodically producing results.
The final outcome might not even look exactly like you first thought it would, but the organization is better because their work moved things forward.
I have learned by experience that I can’t be very successful as a leader without both these type creatives around me. (And in full disclosure I can serve the first role, but not as well the second.) I need people who can see beyond today, but I equally need people around me who get things done without having to be told every step of how to get there.
I anticipate the question of whether both these creative traits can be found in one person. I would say it’s certainly possible for people to demonstrate some aspects of both of these. It’s rare though, in my experience, that those best at forming vision are equally skilled at the implementation of it. But without question we need creativity in both.