By Shelle Rose Charvet
The Trouble with Creative Thinkers!
Have you ever noticed that some people do what is expected while others seem compelled to bend all the rules? And this is true, not only for people, but for whole cultures as well. What does the following riddle tell you about Canadian culture?
How do you get 25 Canadians to get out of a swimming pool?
Ask them to get out of the pool!
Yes, Canadians tend to do what they have been asked to do.
What makes some people want to go around standard practice to find creative solutions, while others would feel sick if they did? Creative Thinkers operate in a mode where their brains function differently than the majority of the population. When someone tells them what to do or how to do it, they immediately think of other options.
So what’s the problem?
Let’s say you wanted someone to complete a task such as phoning a client. Creative Thinkers will consider it and then come up with alternative suggestions such as emailing the client, getting more information, identifying why it’s not a good idea to call right now or leaving to make a sandwich.
I know someone who has such an extreme example of this pattern that whatever is asked of them, this person almost always does something else. (Don’t worry it’s not you!)
Creative Thinkers have huge potential for finding ways around problems and yet can have great difficulty completing projects. They keep finding other perspectives rather than finishing what they start. This means that they move sideways, rather than ahead with an activity.
They can also have trouble taking decisions or making a commitment because they like having more options and don’t want to choose just one.
In my book Words That Change Minds, this pattern is called Options because these Creative Thinkers are motivated by having many options and choices.
How to get Creative Thinkers to commit and follow through
We have discovered that if you give a Creative Thinker more than two options or choices, this will trigger them to start creating even more possibilities, rather than following through on the desired goal. Imagine you are coaching or helping someone who has this pattern and you ask if they would prefer option A or B or C. Huge mistake!
To get committment and follow-through you would be better off to mention ONLY 2 CHOICES and focus on taking the person through a decision-making process. Here’s a coaching example:
Shelle: “So Emilio, having discussed the situation it appears that you could choose to deal with the present urgent tasks right away or you could step back and plan your time based on your overall priorities. The issue becomes how to decide, doesn’t it?”
Emilio: “Yes…. what are the ways to decide?” (“the ways” is Options language – implies he is filtering for lots of choices. Notice that at this point this way of thinking doesn’t actually help him through the process of deciding)
Shelle: “First, given your goals, which of these options (“options” matches his Options pattern) meets the goals the best? Second, are there any disadvantages to going with that option that you will need to take into account. Lastly you can make the decision and get started right away.” (the underlined words are Procedures words because they imply a beginning, middle and end. This will help Emilio focus on moving through a process to achieve an end goal, rather than just developing alternatives.)
Emilio: “Planning my time based on my overall priorities is clearly the better alternative….. unless……. yes it is the best.” (“unless” is that Creative Thinker – Options pattern jumping in) “The only disadvantage is that I need to find a way to get those urgent tasks taken care of …… but I can plan for that.”
Shelle: “So you’ve decided?”
Emilio: “Yes, first I’ll plan and schedule my priorities and then find a way to fit those urgent things in. Then I’ll get to work.”
When Emilio begins to use “first”and “then”, it means that he has embarked on a procedure to be completed rather than continuing to generate alternatives.
Selling to a Creative Thinker
If you are selling products or services, your Creative Thinker – Options prospects may have a hard time making up their mind. You can get them started on a process that includes both options and a motivating last step.
“First we can discuss what you are looking for, then we can view some alternatives and then you can choose the one that suits you best.”
The key to persuading the Creative Thinkers you work and live with is to make sure they have a couple of alternatives to choose from and a process for making and implementing a decision.
Find out about all the types – See Shelle’s Understanding & Triggering Motivation CD Program
Have you seen Shelle’s CD’s and downloads on influencing and persuasion?
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org