Team Management Systems
 

Creativity in Teams

By Dick McCann
Copyright © Team Management Systems. All rights reserved.

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A Model for Teamwork

The Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel is a model which describes the role preferences necessary for teams to operate at their best.

Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel

Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel

RIDO Scales

These role preferences are based on preferences team members have for working in different ways and are measured from responses to four key measures known as the RIDO scales.

Work preference measures

Work preference scales

These measure how we relate to others at work (Extroverted or Introverted), how we gather and use information (Practical or Creative), how we make decisions (Analytical or Beliefs) and how we organize our work (Structured or Flexible). In reality we choose all of these factors to some degree. However, most people lean more to one side of each scale than the other.

For example, one person may look for work where they can exercise their Extroverted, Creative, Analytical and Flexible preferences. Another person may choose jobs where they can exercise their Introverted, Practical, Analytical and Structured preferences.

Creativity

In the Team Management Wheel we distinguish between the creative pole of the information RIDO scale and creativity. This is an important difference as every team member will exhibit creativity, although it is usually manifested in different ways. The information work preference scale measures how people gather and use information, with the creative pole restricted to describing people who rely on the world of theories and concepts as against the practical world of real verifiable data. Creativity, of course, has a much wider definition.

An analysis of the four RIDO scales enables us to tease out some creativity differences which can be very useful in getting the best from team members.

Creator-Innovators always have the same combination of the second and fourth RIDO scales and will therefore show what is called 'C-F creativity'. People with C-F creativity will usually show particular behaviors which are easily recognizable. Often they may be described as lateral or divergent thinkers as their thought processes are anchored in the world of ideas, with one idea spawning another in a divergent pattern. In this way unusual approaches to problems are often generated, even if others in the team may consider such ideas to be impracticable or unworkable. To get the best from Creator-Innovators it is best to let them have free-range in idea generation and not to close down their thinking at an early stage by making comments such as, 'what a silly idea - that'll never work'. It is this C-F creativity which is the basis of brainstorming activity, at which Creator-Innovators excel compared to other role preferences which have different creativity patterns.

The opposite to C-F creativity is 'P-S creativity' which is a common feature of the Concluder-Producer role preference. Here the emphasis is on tried-and-tested data from the real world applied in an organized, often sequential way to deliver tangible outcomes. Concluder-Producers can show very high levels of creativity, particularly where systems and procedures are involved. Major improvements to existing production systems are the hallmark of Concluder-Producers, where they can fine-tune processes to improve performance. However they are less likely than Creator-Innovators to give their mind free rein to explore solutions 'outside the box'. Team members with this role preference may be uncomfortable with conventional brainstorming processes and there are other ways of tapping into their creativity.

'C-S creativity' describes a pattern of working midway between the C-F and P-S patterns and is a feature of some Explorer-Promoter, Assessor-Developer, Thruster-Organizer and Upholder-Maintainer role preferences. The 'C' pole of the information scale means that these people will enjoy the world of ideas and concepts and allow their mind to run with the possibilities. However their preference for structure will cause them to close down on ideas by editing out the more unusual ones. This is best described by their having a divergent-convergent approach to creativity, as distinct from the pure C-F approach of Creator-Innovators. Their mind will initially diverge, but sooner rather than later they will want to converge on a workable solution.

'P-F creativity' often manifests itself in certain behaviors both in and out of work. At home it is often in experimenting with renovations - spending hours trying out different dovetail joints to make the perfect window frame. It is the musician who practices a piece of music until it bears his/her own unique interpretation of the composer's work. It is the artisan who experiments with different formats and textures in a practical but highly unstructured way to deliver designs showing unusual creativity. At work, it is the person who never reads the manual, preferring to work it out for themselves by trial and error. It is the person who will tirelessly audit accounts to find the 10 cents that are missing - using any number of creative solutions and techniques to find where the error lies.

In the world of work many people with P-F creativity are described as excellent experimenters or developers of prototypes. Often they enjoy tinkering with problems and using a trial and error unstructured approach can come up with quite unusual creative solutions. However they will rely on the feedback from the results of their experiments to give them ideas to move forward.

Getting the Best from Your Team

In leading teams it is important to understand the different approaches that people have to creativity. Divergent brainstorming may suit the C-F person but the P-S team members may find the process difficult. The C-S team members will probably enjoy the convergent part of the brainstorming process and make their contribution in developing the ideas to meet the needs of the organization. P-F team members may need time to consider how the ideas will work in practice and come into their own when they suggest improvements. The P-S person can be relied upon to set up the systems to deliver the results and, given encouragement, can adapt the ideas to the real world, showing the down-to-earth creativity that keeps organizations competitive and performing.

Copyright © Team Management Systems. All rights reserved.


With a background in science, engineering, finance and organizational behavior, Dick McCann has consulted widely for organizations such as BP, Hewlett Packard and Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank. He is coauthor of Team Management: Practical New Approaches with Charles Margerison; author of How to Influence Others at Work, the TMS E-Book Series and The Workplace Wizard: The Definitive Guide to Working with Others; and coauthor with Jan Stewart of Aesop's Management Fables and The Half-Empty Chalice. Dick is coauthor and developer of the Team Management Systems concepts and products and also author of the QO2™ Profile, Window on Work Values Profile and the Strategic Team Development Profile. Involved in TMS operations worldwide for over 25 years, Dick is now Managing Director of TMS Australia and a Director of TMS Development International.
 

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