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Build Teams for Creativity

Sam Bacharach, director of the Cornell Institute for Workplace Studies, explains how leaders can encourage both outrageous ideas and practical follow-through.

Video Transcript

00:10 Samuel Bacharach: I think one of the first challenges for any leader is to create the appropriate team in which ideas were actually emerging and that tends to be a very delicate exercise. We've always had this one brilliant person that does everything wonderfully by themselves, but can't work on the team. Or the one person that's been in the organization so long that they keep on saying, "No, no. We shouldn't do this" or "Yes, but... " or "I got you." They play all these games. One of the main trick leaders have to know is how to balance their creative teams. And what leaders have to do is how to create a certain sense of balance with those teams.

00:41 Bacharach: One of the things I think is essential is teach these how to actually build teams for creativity. Build teams for creativity. And that means that we have teams that actually focus on what the organization needs to get done, but within that frame that's some pretty outrageous stuff to start with or what we often call divergent thinking. Once you've taken this divergent or to the outrageous extreme, you wanna be able to pull them back in. You wanna connect the dots. You want be able to pull them, get them to really begin understand what products, what ideas can move forward. The leader directs that. So I think one of the things that leaders have to do is to take ideas, get people to think, if you will, outrageously about those ideas and then help them refocus. Bring those ideas back together to a sense of convergence and move on to some sort of integrated products of ideas.

Last updated: Dec 3, 2013

SAMUEL B. BACHARACH | Columnist | Director, Cornell's Institute of Workplace Studies

Samuel B. Bacharach is the McKelvey-Grant professor in the department of organizational behavior at Cornell University's ILR School, and is director of Cornell's Institute for Workplace Studies in New York City. Among his books are Get Them on Your Side and Keep Them on Your Side. His latest volume, A Good Idea Is Not Enough: Leading for Change and Innovation, will be published this November by BLG.

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