Monthly Archives: September 2005

Building your creativity

(another article written a long time ago – in 2001. Finally posting it on my blog!)

Understand and accept the fact that you are a creative person, and that you are capable of being even more creative. Creativity is not restricted to a few and can be practiced with wonderful results.

To become more creative you must also nurture and learn to listen to your intuition and be open to a wide variety of possible solutions. Being aware of your own personality and beliefs that might blind you to possible solutions is also useful.

  1. Don”t be afraid of failing with any given avenue of exploration; even a negative result from one line of questioning can lead to a new idea or new possibility.
  2. Be alert to alternate solutions as they occur to you.
  3. Keep a track of ideas.
  4. Learn to recognize your own abilities so that you have some sense of the areas of a given problem that may give you difficulty or require more energy to solve.
  5. Sometimes tackling the difficult areas first is wise so that your energies are high; other times, leaving the less well understood problems until later in the process can allow your “backbrain” or subconscious time to generate pointers to the solutions.
  6. Practice divergent and convergent thinking processes: Discipline your mind to create many possible solutions to a problem at the beginning of your effort — to brainstorm ideas, to be open to many avenues of solution.
  7. You must also be aware that at some point in the creative process you must begin to go through these various ideas, analyse their utility to the problem at hand, and decide on a solution.

Some of the misconceptions which hinder creativity

  1. For every problem, there can be only one solution: A creative person is always looking for more innovative solutions and believes that the number of ideas that can be applied are limitless.
  2. One must be logical and rational when solving any problem: Creativity often comes when one plays around with assumptions and status quo thoughts. Being logical often builds it further.
  3. An idea can be useful, only it if falls within the norms and standards of the organization/society:Oftentimes ideas have been successful that were thought of to have no practical utility.
  4. One should always be clear in one”s thinking: Clarity usually in the beginning of the creative process often limits options, not expand.
  5. In solving problems, one should always avoid mistakes and failures: Avoiding mistakes and failures will never get you started on anything new, which is the basis of creativity.
  6. Problem-solving is a “serious” activity: It might be serious in repercussions, but does not have to be serious in approach.
  7. Expertise and specialization is a must for effective problem-solving: A lot of creative thoughts have emerged from people who are novices and new to fields.
  8. One should obviously not take weird ideas seriously: Crazy ideas, on the other hand act as ignition points for starting a search for more do-able ideas.
  9. Some people are creative, others are not: Everyone can be creative, if he or she fights against these mental blocks.

The Talent Wars

Jobster CEO Jason writes about his views on the Talent wars in the new age. And I think it’s a struggle for most organizations and their recruitment divisions to transition from their old mindsets to new mindsets.

Remember, the people who are in charge in most organizations are people who grew up with earlier assumptions.

And I wonder if they are going to be ever ready for the new wave in organizations.

While Jason does get it right, he is still speaking from the perspective of an employer and employee contractual assumption.

What will happen when people become more and more “free agents” and “fleas” looking at organizations to fulfill their higher calling, their vocation in life? How will talent magnets be different from people from whom talent runs away?

Here are some thoughts:

1. As people work more and more for meeting their inner creative desire, the challenges that organizations give have to change. And they will not come forth if the products from organizations are not creative.

2. As more “traditional” work begins to move from hard-core organizational boundaries, the lines between employer and employee themselves will blur. Because, if one employer cannot pay for work, it will be taken to another.

3. Dave Pollard (how I admire this guy!) posts on the new structure of the organization that gives rise to some more questions….questions like: Would employees be willing to forgo higher salaries (and much higher salaries if they reached the top echelons of traditional organizations) for the more human, healthy working environment of the New Age organizations sketched above?

Interesting thoughts…what do you think?

It’s only English !

Recieved this from Ingrid Srinath (CEO of CRY) by email:

Shiuly, Deepa, Avinava and Mrityunjay were walking through the crowded, winding by-lanes of Kalighat’s red-light district in Kolkata with me and my colleagues from CRY – Kolkata. Deepa strode past the sex-workers lining the street with all the swagger her karate brown belt qualified her to.

We’d spent the past three-and-some hours with the kids at Diksha, a CRY supported project that works with children in the red-light areas of Kolkata. I’d watched them tease, sing, argue, complain, squabble and play with the abandon and assurance of kids anywhere. Listened to them share their stories – how they brought an abuser of one of their friends to book despite the fact that he was the girl’s mother’s client, the indifference of the cops, their persistence till they got the attention of the local DCP. Heard them hold each other to account over who among them was still stealing, begging or gambling. Saw them come crowding into the little room that is their safe haven from the crime, violence, poverty and despair that surrounds them. Sex workers wandered through the courtyard outside, combing their hair and preparing for the night’s trade.

NGOs live in a jargon jungle, inhabited by polysyllabic phrases like empowerment, community mobilisation, gender equality and child rights. The kids in Kalighat helped me understand what those words really mean. I witnessed it in the girls who dispassionately described the cycle of early marriage, spousal abuse and descent into prostitution they now had a way of opting out of. In the face of the seven year old whose battle just to stay in school he was winning thanks to the encouragement and support he received from his friends at Diksha. In the stoic courage of the eleven year old whose abuser they’d helped put away. In their pride at their victories against drugs and crime.

But it came alive for me most vividly when Shiuly mentioned she was in the midst of her Class 10 exams. I asked her why she wasn’t home studying. ‘It’s only English tomorrow,’ she said nonchalantly.

Hunting the Headhunters

According to this article the headhunters are getting a dose of their own medicine.

The reasons:

  1. They don’t pay as much as corporates.
  2. There doesn’t exist any entry barrier to become a headhunter. Hence many see it as a stepping stone to a “better” job.

“The attrition rates in this industry have grown significantly as compared with the last year. Many of those who join the recruitment industry leave to join the corporate sector. We, however, do not discourage that as they turn to be our own ambassadors,” said K Pandia Rajan, managing director of Chennai-based Ma Foi Management Consultants Ltd.

Hoteliers in short supply

In my previous life (i.e. before my MBA) I was a hotelier….and the reason why this is happening in India is that salaries in the hotel industry have not been able to compete with the other industries that compete for its talent.

Very few of my friends and colleagues have stuck to the hotel industry. Most people did not want to get paid peanuts for skills which other industries hold in high esteem. Many ex-hoteliers have gone on to lead BPO and Call Centre organizations in India while traditionally in the hotel industry they would have reached the level in 5-10 years more !