INNOVATION & Creativity Conquers Uncertainty. Here’s How To Hire For It

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: years ago when I began my PhD work I began by finding and analyzing churches that are creatively sharing the Good News. One of the most important factors is hiring creative people. But hiring committees often err on the side of the safe bet. Here is an excerpt from a new research-based book that explains how do you spot someone that’s creative and get them on your team.

by Chaka Booker, Forbes Magazine, 6/1/20.

…According to an annual global study conducted by IBM, 80% of CEOs anticipate this increase in complexity, but only 49% believe their organizations are prepared to deal with it. The same research shows that creative thinking has become a prerequisite for success. Clearly, organizations need talent that see things differently than others. They need creative thinkers who can help move organizations in unanticipated and ultimately successful directions.

Interviewing for creativity

Determining if someone is creative isn’t easy. Even when asked to describe their own creativity, people find it difficult to do so. Steve Jobs echoed this sentiment during an interview for Wired magazine in 1996, “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Most interview questions don’t acknowledge this reality and instead ask candidates to give examples of creative solutions they’ve generated in their work experience. These types of questions focus primarily on ideas and results, not on the process. Assessing ideas and results, however, requires understanding the candidate’s context. A candidate may describe something that was creative within their context, but to you it may seem lackluster. Or, vice versa, it may seem creative but was par for the course.

This is a problem you cannot solve. Regardless of your understanding of the candidate’s context, your opening question still needs to be a traditional one. Start by asking any of the following standard creativity questions: 

  • Have you had a project which required you to think “outside the box”? If so, what ideas did you generate and what was the result?
  • Have you come up with an innovative idea or solution recently at work If so, what resulted from the idea?
  • Have you faced a problem at work that you solved in a unique way? If so, what was the outcome?

Asking one or two of these questions is still valuable because it sets the foundation for addressing the challenge that Steve Jobs identified. Next you need to ask questions that specifically help you understand the candidate’s mental process.

The link between artistic and professional creativity

Creativity is hard to assess because it is a mind state that people enter to generate results. It is often more recognizable when examined via the artistic creativity exhibited by musicians, poets, dancers, or other artists. For this reason, a considerable amount of research on creative mental processes has been done with artists. Fortunately, artistic creativity and the creativity needed in the working world are related. Studies have shown that whether a person is a chief operating officer or a sculptor, a similar mental shift occurs when they think creatively. Dr. Joel Lopata, a Professor of Psychology and Creativity at The Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, found that, “When artists—or people in general—work across domains…they are in what can be called a distinct creative mental space, which is distinct and different from a rational, logical, and analytical state.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/chakabooker/2020/06/01/creativity-conquers-uncertainty-heres-how-to-hire-for-it/#c928e4c7607d

INNOVATION & How a bishop and a mathematician wife instilled in their children a desire for curiosity and innovation, not profit. #WrightBrothers

By Shilo Brooks, Scientific American Magazine, 3/14/20.

… The Wright brothers’ success at solving an engineering problem that captivated the human imagination for millennia was not a fluke. Flight is far too complex an undertaking merely to chance upon. To see what made the Wright Brothers successful and what we can learn from them today, we must consider what made them different. What qualities of character, curiosity and temperament did the Wrights possess that enabled them to conquer the air when specialists couldn’t? And what kind of problem was the problem of flight such that unique minds like theirs were required to solve it?

Thirty-one years after their famous first flight, Orville Wright reflected on what made the Wright brothers different. A journalist told him in an interview that he and his brother embodied the American dream. They were two humble boys with “no money, no influence, and no other special advantages” who had risen to the heights of fame and fortune. “But it isn’t true,” Orville replied, “to say we had no special advantages. We did have unusual advantages in childhood, without which I doubt we could have accomplished much…. The greatest thing in our favor was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity. If my father had not been the kind who encouraged his children to pursue intellectual interests without any thought of profit, our early curiosity about flying would have been nipped too early to bear fruit.”

The Wrights’ father, Milton, was a Protestant bishop with a zeal for books and inquiry of all sorts. His wife Susan was a mechanical whiz who studied math, science and literature in college, and who often built toys for the Wright children. The bookshelves in their home were filled with novels, poetry, ancient history, scientific treatises and encyclopedias. They encouraged their children to read widely and to take responsibility for their own education. When the Wright brothers were asked about their early interest in flight, they always said they got interested in it “for fun,” and that they wanted to use their profits to fund future scientific explorations.

In his late 20s Wilbur Wright began reading books on the anatomy of birds and animal locomotion. These investigations would eventually lead the Wrights to develop their innovative three-axis control system, which mimicked the torsional movement of bird wings. Wilbur soon wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institution to request pamphlets published by Samuel Langley and Octave Chanute on aerodynamics. “I am an enthusiast, but not a crank,” he said, “in the sense that I have some pet theories as to the proper construction of a flying machine.”

Shortly after the brothers began conducting their experiments in North Carolina, they discovered that the tables of air pressure data provided by Smithsonian scientists were “unreliable” and riddled with errors. They promptly set about building their own wind tunnel to acquire accurate measurements. “We did that work just for the fun we got out of learning new truths,” Orville said in retrospect. They also built their own motor with the aid of their chief bicycle shop assistant when no engine manufacturers responded to their inquiries about building one small enough to fit the flyer…

The Wrights’ insatiable curiosity and love of truth enabled them to bring to bear on the multifaceted problem of flight the full range of their capacities as human beings in ways that others could not. They began to see that it was, as Wilbur put it, “the complexity of the flying problem that makes it so difficult.” It was a problem that “could not be solved by stumbling upon a secret, but by the patient accumulation of information upon a hundred different points some of which an investigator would naturally think it unnecessary to go into deeply.”

Read more at … https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-did-the-wright-brothers-succeed-when-others-failed/

EVENTS & How A Church Can Serve Their Community, Rather Than Just Entertain It (examples from July 4th)

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., July 8, 2019.

(Read it below or download the article here: https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/serve-your-community-rather-than-entertain-it/ )

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download the article here: https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/serve-your-community-rather-than-entertain-it/ )

TEAMWORK & 3 Reasons Why You May Want People Who Are Chronically Late On Your Team, According to Research

by Rebecca Hinds, Inc. Magazine, 3/1/19.

…Despite your valiant attempts to confront perpetually late co-workers and cure chronic lateness, you’ve probably been less than successful. It’s not all your fault. There are psychological reasons to explain why people are perpetually tardy…

1. Optimism

According to Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again, individuals who are perpetually late tend to be more optimistic. As optimists, latecomers are likely to look at the bright side of things….

Optimism is a highly desirable trait in the workplace… Research by the University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman, as outlined in his book “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life”, found that sales professionals who are optimistic outperform others by 37 percent. 

2. Creativity 

… According to research, creative individuals aren’t adept at filtering out distraction. Their mind moves freely from one idea to another without constraint. While this proclivity spurs creativity, it also causes their minds to wander from calendar invitations and show up late to commitments. 

3. Low levels of neuroticism

Some highly punctual people express anxiety about being late. Being late feels unsafe and results in stress… a 2006 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, habitually punctual people exhibit higher levels of neuroticism.

Neuroticism can be toxic to the workplace. Neurotic people are more likely to be moody and experience depression…

Read more at …https://www.inc.com/rebecca-hinds/3-reasons-why-you-may-want-people-who-are-chronically-late-on-your-team-according-to-research.html

MILLENNIALS & This 1 Sentence Summarizes the Entire Millennial Generation

by Nicolas Cole, Inc. Magazine, 1/21/18.

This one sentence summarizes the entire Millennial generation:

“I want to be the one who comes up with the idea, not the person who executes on it.”

That’s the problem.

The world doesn’t need more ideas. Ideas are easy. Ideas are as abundant as air itself.

What the world needs is more hands on deck, more doers, more builders–more people who know the value of patience, and who can take something that sounds great in theory and work to bring it to life.

Because let me tell you: The way an idea starts is never the way the idea ends.

What sounds like utopia often turns out to be a complicated web of inconsistencies.

And any idea that is immediately validated because it sounds good usually turns out to be a weak or worthless idea.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/every-ambitious-millennial-that-makes-this-1-mistake-fails.html

AGILE AT SCALE & Its 3 Laws Explained + 10 Agile Axioms That Make Leaders Anxious (and they should!)

by Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine, 6/17/18. 

If at first an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it. —Albert Einstein

In June 2018,  a time when “Agile at Scale” is emblazoned on the front cover of Harvard Business Review (read the original “Agile at Scale” HBR article here), the management journal with quasi-papal status, the era when managers could confidently ridicule agile management practices is fading fast. Instead, most managers have themselves grasped the need to be agile: a recent Deloitte survey of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders across 140 countries revealed that nearly all surveyed respondents (94%) report that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organization’s success. Yet only 6% say that they are “highly agile today.” So, what’s the problem? Why the 88% gap between aspiration and actuality.

…The three Laws of Agile are simple—first, an obsession with continuously adding more value for customers; second, small teams working on small tasks in short iterative work cycles delivering value to customers; and third, coordinating work in a fluid, interactive network.

…The Laws of Agile are simple but their implementation is often difficult. That’s in part because they are at odds with some of the basic assumptions and attitudes that have prevailed in managing large organizations for at least a century. For example, Agile makes more money by not focusing on making money. In Agile, control is enhanced by letting go of control. Agile leaders act more like gardeners than commanders. And that’s just the beginning.

For the traditional manager, counter-intuitive ideas like these abound. This is not the way people say big firms are run. This is not by and large what business schools teach…

First Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Customer

  1. Firms Make More Money By Not Focusing On Making Money

For several millennia, the notion that businesses exist to make money was seen as one of the immutable truths of the universe. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote in his article in the New York Times on September 13, 1970 that any business executives who pursued a goal other than making money for their firm were “unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” Today, many public companies embrace maximizing shareholder value as their main goal, even though Jack Welch and many others have called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

A growing number of companies have chosen a different goal. They have accepted Peter Drucker’s 1954 dictum that “there is only one valid purpose of a firm: to create a customer.” When delighting their customers through continuous innovation becomes the bottom line, making money is the result, not the goal, of the firm’s activities.

The interesting thing is that when firms operate this way, they make a lot more money than companies that focus directly on making money, including the five largest and fastest growing firms on the planet (by market cap): Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, now worth over $2 trillion. It involves a shift from a focus on inanimate things (money, products outputs) to a focus on people (human outcomes, experiences, impact)

Yet let’s face it: setting aside what many still see as an immutable truths of the universe doesn’t come easily.

  1. There Are No Internal Customers

It’s common in many big bureaucracies to talk of internal customers. One unit services another unit and regards the other unit as its internal customer, who in due course becomes a producer for the ultimate customer or end-user. …

In Agile management, there is no such thing as an “internal customer.” The only purpose of work is the ultimate customer or end-user. Under the Law of the Customer, the original producers not only meet the needs the internal customers: they are given a clear line of sight as to what value is being provided for the ultimate customer. Satisfying so-called internal customers is merely feeding the bureaucratic beast. It is a pretend-version of Agile.

  1. There Are No B2B Organizations

The situation is the same when a firm is providing products or services to another firm which acts as an intermediary for ultimate end user. The customers are the end-users who ultimately experience the products and services. Merely satisfying the needs of the intermediary is not enough for sustainability…

Similarly, Microsoft for many years saw the customers of its Windows program as the big retailers like Dell and HP. More recently, they have come to realize that their customer is really the end-user, not these intermediaries: there is now an immense effort to reach out to, undestand and interact with these millions of end-users.

  1. Making Better Products May Not Make More Money

Making products better, faster cheaper, more convenient or more personalized is a good thing. But in a marketplace where competitors are often quick to match improvements to existing products and services and where power in the marketplace has decisively shifted to customers, it can be difficult for firms to monetize those improvements. Amid intense competition, customers with choices and access to reliable information are frequently able to demand that quality improvements be forthcoming at no cost, or even lower cost.

Making better products through operational Agility is an increasingly-necessary foundation for the survival of a firm. But it’s not enough for the firm to thrive. To make a lot of money, the company has to go further. It has to delight non-customers—those who are not already customers. That’s because there are usually vastly more non-customers than customers. They are non-customers for a reason: their needs are not being met. If the company can find a way to meet their needs, then a whole vast new ocean of potential customers opens up, in which there is usually very little competition. If the firm can appeal to both customers and non-customers, it can make a great deal of money. “Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it,” writes David Brooks in the New York Times. “The profit margins are much bigger, and the value to society is often bigger, too.”

The Second Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Small Teams

   5.  Forget Economies of Scale: Your Market Is One Person

The 20th Century firm tended to be focused on generic products to achieve economies of scale. By contrast, Agile is about generating instant, intimate, frictionless incremental value at scale. That’s the new performance requirement. When firms do this, as shown by the experience of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google they make a great deal of money.

Thus Agile organizations focus on providing intimate value, with an effective “market of one”, i.e. a level of customization and customer service at which a customer feels that he or she is an exclusive or preferred customer of the firm. For example, search engines are used by billions of people every day across the globe. However, each user gets customized search results based on their locations and refer to places nearby, weather forecast, or traffic condition…

  1. Don’t Scale Up: Descale Complexity Down

A key Agile theme concerns descaling work, i.e. a presumption that in a volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous world, big difficult problems need to be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small cross-functional autonomous teams, working iteratively in short cycles in a state of flow, with fast feedback from customers and end-users…

Instead of constructing a big complex organization to handle complexity, the organization disaggregates the problem into tiny pieces so that it can be put together in minuscule increments and adjusted in the light of new, and rapidly changing, information about both the technology and the customer…

  1. Control Is Enhanced By Letting Go Of Control.

In Agile management, there’s a presumption that in a volatile, rapidly changing world, big difficult problems should—to the extent possible—be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small self-organizing teams. The thought of self-organizing teams tends to make managers worry about losing control. What they need to understand is that they are giving up the illusion of control, rather than actual control. In a complex, rapidly changing environment, explicit efforts to impose control and predictability are doomed. Detailed reports may create the semblance of control, but the reality is often very different from what is in those reports.

The solution to reconciling disciplined execution and innovation lies in giving greater freedom to those people doing the work to exercise their talents and creativity, but doing so within short cycles so that those doing the work can themselves see whether they are making progress or not.

  1. Agile Is A Mindset, Not A Process

Traditional managers typically approach Agile saying, “Show me the process so that I can implement it.” The problem is that Agile is a mindset, not a process. If it is approached as a process with the old mindset, nothing good happens.

But surely, people ask, there must be some model that we can follow. There is much allure for instance in the Spotify model as presented in the charming videos prepared by Henrik Nyberg. So there is a cry: “Let’s implement the Spotify model!”  There’s just one problem: as former Spotify coach, Joakim Sundén, often explains, not even Spotify implements the Spotify model. For one thing, the videos are several years old. Second, Spotify continues to rapidly evolve and improve its model. In a pair of visits in 2016, we noticed significant differences even within a period of several months.

  1. Talent Drives Strategy, Not Vice Versa

“The central premise of a talent-driven company is that talent drives strategy, as opposed to strategy being dictated to talent.,” says the book, Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First (HBRP, 2018) by Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, and his colleagues Dennis Carey and Ram Charan, “The wrong talent inevitably produces the wrong strategy, and fails to deliver. Numbers like sales and earnings are the result of placing the right people in the right jobs where their talents flourish and they can create value that ultimately shows up in the numbers.”

The Third Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Network

    9. The Top-Down Organizational Pyramid Is Finished

Success in today’s marketplace requires nimbleness, flexibility, adaptability and agility—everything that the 20th Century corporation was not. These firms were built for strength, with high walls and moats for the defense of the status quo. Their very raison d’être was to prevent change.

Turning a top-down pyramid into a flexible network is tricky. At the heart of 20th Century management thinking is the notion of a corporation as an efficient steady-state machine aimed at exploiting its existing business model. “Traditional, MBA-style thinking,” as Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, write in their book, How Google Works, “dictates that you build up a sustainable competitive advantage over rivals and then close the fortress and defend it with boiling oil and flaming arrows.”

By contrast, when the whole organization truly embraces Agile, the organization is an organic living network of high-performance teams. In these organizations, managers recognize that competence resides throughout the organization and that innovation can come from anywhere. The whole organization, including the top, is obsessed with delivering more value to customers. Agile teams take initiative on their own and interact with other Agile teams to solve common problems. In effect, the whole organization shares a common mindset in which organization is viewed and operated as a network of high-performance teams.

  1. Lead Like A Gardener, Not A Commander

In Team of Teams, by General Stanley McChrystal and his colleagues (2015, Penguin Publishing Group), McChrystal explains had to unlearn what it means to be a leader. A great deal of what he thought he knew about how the world worked and his role as a commander had to be discarded.

I began to view effective leadership in the new environment as more akin to gardening than chess,” he writes. “The move-by-move control that seemed natural to military operations proved less effective than nurturing the organization— its structure, processes, and culture— to enable the subordinate components to function with ‘smart autonomy.’ It wasn’t total autonomy, because the efforts of every part of the team were tightly linked to a common concept for the fight, but it allowed those forces to be enabled with a constant flow of ‘shared consciousness’ from across the force, and it freed them to execute actions in pursuit of the overall strategy as best they saw fit. Within our Task Force, as in a garden, the outcome was less dependent on the initial planting than on consistent maintenance. Watering, weeding, and protecting plants from rabbits and disease are essential for success. The gardener cannot actually ‘grow’ tomatoes, squash, or beans— she can only foster an environment in which the plants do so.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/06/17/ten-agile-axioms-that-make-managers-anxious/#51ae8abc4619

And read also:

HBR Embraces Agile At Scale

Explaining Agile

Why Agile Is Eating The World

#Dmin

IMAGINATION & @FullerSeminary ‘s #TreyClark on imagination, symbols, dreams & how the Dominicans used them to share the Good News.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel (6/15/18):  I enjoyed Fuller Seminary PhD theology student Trey Clark’s presentation on how art, aesthetics, imagination and story were combined as early Dominicans shared the Good News in the new world.  It was given to the AETE (Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education), an academic community which I serve as president emeritus.

Below are some takeaways:

  • The Dominicans sensed they lived in the end times, which motivated and energized their efforts. As Trey researched further, I asked him to look into if there is a correlation between a theological eschatology and a motivation/energy invested into evangelism.
  • Interesting fact: the Dominicans sometimes took a year to communally create the sermons to create relevance and apologetic impact.

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INNOVATION & Steve Jobs quote: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/16-top-quotes-to-inspire-a-rare-remarkable-type-of-leadership.html and https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/this-classic-quote-from-steve-jobs-about-hiring-employees-describes-what-great-leadership-looks-like.html

INNOVATION & What you can learn about fostering it from the most watched TED talk of all time.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: (Sir) Ken Robinson’s TED talk is not only the most watched TED talk of all time and a wonderful model of good communication, but it is also shows how to tap into the creativity and innovation of unlikely people. It also shows how to nurture an organizational environment where innovation flourishes. If you are tackling a church turnaround, a church plant or any other type of innovative ministry, watch this video from time to time.

 

GROUP THINK & Multiple Research Confirms Brainstorming Kills Breakthrough Ideas (& What To Do Instead)

by Melissa Schilling, Inc. Magazine, 2/9/18.

… Over a half a century ago, Alex Osborne wrote an influential book called Applied Imagination that opined that “the average person can think up twice as many ideas when working with a group than when working alone.” Managers must have been convinced because brainstorming groups took off in popularity and are still used widely to this day. In fact, in business schools it is almost heretical to argue that teams are not more creative than individuals.

The only problem is that Osborne was wrong. Dozens of laboratory studies tried to confirm Osborne’s claim, but found the opposite: brainstorming groups produced fewer ideas, and ideas of less novelty, than the sum of the ideas created by the same number of individuals working alone…

…three main reasons that groups are less creative than individuals working on their own:

1. Fear of Judgment

A series of studies by Professors Michael Diehl, Wolfgang Stroebe, Bernard Nijstad, Paul Pauhus, and others found that people self-censor many of their most creative ideas in group brainstorming sessions for fear of being judged negatively by others. When the scientists told groups that their ideas would be judged by their peers, they came up with significantly fewer and less novel ideas than groups that were told they would be evaluated by anonymous judges.

As Isaac Asimov, one of the most famous science fiction writers of all time (and also a biochemistry professor at Boston University) put it, “My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required…The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.”

2. Production Blocking

When people take turns to voice their ideas, those bringing up the rear may forget their ideas before having a chance to voice them. Worse still, the process of attending to another person’s ideas redirects a listener’s train of thought, essentially hijacking their own idea generation process. Scientists were able to demonstrate this by separating individuals into rooms where they would speak their ideas into a microphone when lights indicated it was their turn. In some of the rooms the individuals could hear the contributions of others, and in some they could not. This study resulted in big creativity losses: being required to wait to give ideas caused people to submit far fewer ideas, and even fewer ideas if they could hear the contributions of others…

3. Feasibility Trumps Originality

Another series of studies by Professor Eric Rietzschel and colleagues shows that teams aren’t just bad for idea generation; they even impair idea selection. If you let people work alone to generate ideas but then let the group select the best ideas to pursue, they will make decisions that reduce novelty. The studies showed that when groups interactively ranked their “best” ideas, they chose ideas that were less original than the average of the ideas produced, and more feasible than the average of the ideas produced. In other words, people tended to weight “feasible” more highly than “original.” If a brainstorming group is intended to elicit novel ideas, asking groups to select and submit their best ideas is not the way to achieve that outcome.

The Benefits of Spending Time Alone

Solitude is immensely valuable for creativity; it affords a person the time to think and pursue those things they find intrinsically interesting. It can help them to develop their own beliefs about how the world works, and to develop a self-concept that is less structured by the opinions of others.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/melissa-schilling/the-science-of-why-brainstorming-in-groups-doesnt-work.html

INNOVATION & A Comparison Between Red Ocean Strategy & Blue Ocean Strategy

by Sage Growth Partners, 3/17/09.

Read more at … https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/SageGrowthPartners/blue-ocean-innovation-bli

creativity need-meeting needs safety needs

INNOVATION & Where Good Ideas Come From: Colliding Hunches #StevenJohnson #YouTube

Commentary by Prof. B: Invocation usually results when people who have “hunches” collide with people who have other hunches. See this video for an entertaining explanation of the process.

BRAIN EXERCISES & Don’t Lose Your Brain at Work – The Role of Recurrent Novelty at Work in Cognitive and Brain Aging

by Jan Oltmanns, Ben Godde, Axel H. Winneke, Götz Richter, Claudia Niemann, Claudia Voelcker-Rehage, Klaus Schömann and Ursula M. Staudinger, Frontiers in Psychology Journal, 2/26/17.

Abstract

Cognitive and brain aging is strongly influenced by everyday settings such as work demands. Long-term exposure to low job complexity, for instance, has detrimental effects on cognitive functioning and regional gray matter (GM) volume. Brain and cognition, however, are also characterized by plasticity. We postulate that the experience of novelty (at work) is one important trigger of plasticity. We investigated the cumulative effect of recurrent exposure to work-task changes (WTC) at low levels of job complexity on GM volume and cognitive functioning of middle-aged production workers across a time window of 17 years. In a case-control study, we found that amount of WTC was associated with better processing speed and working memory as well as with more GM volume in brain regions that have been associated with learning and that show pronounced age-related decline. Recurrent novelty at work may serve as an ‘in vivo’ intervention that helps counteracting debilitating long-term effects of low job complexity.

Read more at … http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00117/full#B71

CREATIVITY & How Challenge and Creativity Improve Brain Function

[PDF] researchgate.net

The continuing effects of substantively complex work on the intellectual functioning of older workers.

by C Schooler, MS Mulatu, G Oates – Psychology and aging, 1999 – psycnet.apa.org

Abstract

Using a nationally representative sample of employed men and women in this longitudinal study, the authors extended for another 20 years findings based on 1964 and 1974 data (Kohn & Schooler, 1983) that substantively complex work improves intellectual functioning. This study provides evidence that intellectual functioning and substantive complexity of work continue to reciprocally affect each other. In addition, it shows that the

Read more at … https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?title=The+continuing+effects+of+substantively+complex+work+on+the+intellectual+functioning+of+older+workers%2E&journal=Psychol%2E+Aging&author=Schooler+C.&author=Mulatu+M.+S.&author=and+Oates+G.&publication_year=1999&volume=14&pages=483-506

MULTIPLICATION & The Problematic ‘Creative Class’: When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In my book “The Healthy Church” I describe five models of multicultural churches and show how two of the models are better than all others at breaking down racial walls and creating physical, as well as spiritual reconciliation. Readers often ask me if this is really necessary. And, I believe it is based upon the reasons cited in this important article.

The Problematic ‘Creative Class’: When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

Written by Doug Paul, Missio Alliance, on January 26, 2016

So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Scholar Stephen Hayes has long noted that Sunday mornings are the most segregated time in America. There are many reasons for this, most of which I will not delve into in this post. Instead, I want to explore one, perhaps hidden force that may be perpetuating this trend.

Closing in on 10 years ago, my wife and I, along with some close friends and a few pie-in-the-sky ideas, started the process of planting a church.

Around this time, a book came out of nowhere, capturing the imagination of America and finding a spot on the New York Times best seller list: The Rise of the Creative Class (by Richard Florida).

In a nutshell:

This book quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people’s work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive. –Description of the newly revised and expanded The Rise of the Creative Class

Not only was this book a best seller, but it changed the way people started talking about vocational desire. This was injected straight into church planting conversations in ways that went something like this: “What if we had churches that reached the creative class? After all, these will be the people who are shaping culture!”

The missiological question that came to dominate these conversations was essentially, “What if church (in structure, in practice and in ethos), was built to reach this cooler-than-thou group of culture makers that so many suburbanites aspirational?”

Seemingly overnight, church plant after church plant after church plant popped up…all looking somewhat similar taking their cues from the concept of reaching the”creative class.” It would be difficult to describe the impact of this book on church planting in the last decade. Not just the church planting world…but our country as a whole.

In fact…it’s gone mainstream. Today, the core principles planted with these concepts have born the fruit that is lovingly, ironically, and sardonically called Hipster Church (a purposeful over-generalization). And Hipster Church? Well…it’s everywhere in church plants. If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve visited such a church. You might even be part of one.

But there was one thing that always seemed to be missing in the description of this creative class. Yes, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Yes, they like flexibility in workspace and dress. Yes, they want to tap into and blend all of the various creative avenues in their life. (I could go on with these descriptions.)

But the one unspoken?

The creative class is disproportionately WHITE.

Because of the racialization of America, the vast majority of people who have access to the experiences one would need to become a part of this class means that most of these people are:

Disproportionately affluent
-1 in 3 earn over $100,000 per year, 9% earn over $150,000
-48% are members of what is called “the Investor Class”

Disproportionately educated
-Over half have college degrees (compared to 30% nationally)

And disproportionately white
-65%, according to Forbes, but I think this is significantly off (but is still 2/3rds!)

Just so I am 100% clear, I’m not saying that there aren’t loads of creative voices who are minority voices. Rather – and this is how race and class come together in a subtle way – the sociological distinction known as the “creative class” means things that include economic realities and educational realities. And study after study shows that white people have more access to these opportunities than anyone else.

So it’s not, “Who is creative?” It’s about who fits the sociological description of “creative class.”

Now, I’m not going to spend lots of time proving the point above. Chances are, if you don’t believe the creative class is mostly white, and the ability to access the creative class is far easier if you’re white, even if I try to prove the point, I doubt you’ll agree with what I’m saying. So no need to take up any more space. 😉

So herein lies the problem: What happens when a generation of church planters buy into a core concept that, almost by nature, is seeking to reach one group of people? White people.

If you’re not white and you walk into one of these churches, even though they are trying to reach the “creative class,” my sneaking suspicion is that it still feels distinctly white. And if you’re a minority voice in America, something that feels white doesn’t tend to feel safe.

Read more at … http://www.missioalliance.org/the-problematic-creative-class-when-a-generation-of-church-planters-only-reached-white-people/

NEW IDEAS & How/When To Introduce Them in Your Church’s Missional Lifecycle

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  Dr. Charles Arn is one of the best tactical thinkers in the field of Church Growth and health.  In this article he will help you plot your organization’s location in its lifecycle. A helpful byproduct of his article is that Dr. Arn will help you see when and how to introduce a new idea for maximum impact. For more on implementing new ideas (sometimes called “intervention events”) see an article I wrote to accompany Arn’s article, titled: NEW IDEAS & 7 Lessons for Avoiding A Church Split When You Introduce a New Idea.  Additional insights on lifecycles can be found in Ichak Adizes’ classic lifecycle depiction of the Bell Curve of Organizational Change.

“Where is Your Church In Its Missional Lifecycle?”

by Charles Arn (nd).

Gravity exists. And, there’s not much we can do about it. As we grow up, we learn this by dropping things on our feet, falling out of trees, and slipping on icy sidewalks. So, the best thing to do is to learn to live with it, and… even make it our ally. We fill balloons with helium and rise above the earth. We build airfoil wings and propellers to fly with the birds.

Lifecycles also exist. And, there is not much we can do about that, either. Every living thing has them: plants … animals … people … churches. Lifecycles simply are. Life begins … it flourishes … then it ends. So, the best thing to do is to learn to live with it, and…even make it our ally.

To begin, it is important to realize that there is one amazing difference between the lifecycle of churches, and the lifecycle of all other living things. On the following pages I hope to help us 1) better understand church lifecycles, and then 2) consider how a church’s lifecycle can work for us (rather than against us) in accomplishing the mission of Christ’s church.

What is a Church Lifecycle?

First, it is important to realize that every church has a lifecycle. And every church—including yours—is somewhere on its lifecycle. The lifecycle describes a local church’s progression from infancy…to maturity…to death. Where you are on the lifecycle has a great deal to do with your church’s ability to reach new people for Christ and assimilate them into your church family. Churches well into their lifecycle find it increasingly difficult to mobilize people and programs in pursuit of their mission.

The easiest way to determine where you are on the lifecycle is to graph the worship attendance since your church’s birth. Your pattern will not be as simplified as the graph below. But this basic trend in attendance (and, to a lesser degree, membership) can be observed in most churches when averaged out over a period of years. The sobering fact is that at least 80% of churches in America today are on the flat or back-side of their lifecycles.

FIGURE Arn Typlical Church Lifecycle copy.jpg

 

In the early stages of a church’s life there is a high sense of mission among all involved. The church is purpose-driven. Charter members, and often a bi-vocational pastor, volunteer their time to help the church reach people and grow. Buildings are less important; structure is less important. The motivation is mission. And the result is growth.

As the formative years give way to time, the church reaches a comfortable size and attendance begins to level off. Where this plateau occurs depends on the church’s growth in the first stage. Congregations typically plateau near 35, 75, 100, 250, 400, 750 or 1,000 in attendance. People who affiliate with the church in this stage come predominantly via transfer growth, while fewer and fewer people are added by conversion growth. An emerging pattern of “institutionalization” is reflected by the increase in committees, and the decrease in accomplishment.

The final stage of a church’s lifecycle—decline—often begins after a church’s 50th birthday. Few, if any, members reflect the mission priority of the founders. The community has usually changed, while the church has not. Decline in worship attendance during this stage may be gradual or abrupt. Few in the church, including the staff, believe the church’s best days are still ahead.

Here is the critical insight that has grown from the study of church lifecycles: The longer a church exists, the more concerned the leaders and members become with self-service, and the less concerned with the church’s original mission and reason for being.

Robert Orr has enlarged the three stages of growth, plateau, decline into a more detailed description of the changes that occur as a church moves from “initial structuring” toward “disintegration.” [1]

CHART Robert Or 5 Stages of Lifecycle of Churches copy

But, the good news is that, unlike other living organisms that face an inevitable end to their lifecycle, the local church CAN begin a new lifecycle. In fact, the study of church growth (to which I have devoted much of my professional life) is actually the study of how churches can break out of the gravitational pull toward attendance plateau or decline, and actually re-discover the visionary excitement and missional focus that occurs at the beginning of a new lifecycle.

And what about those churches that do not seem to be affected by this lifecycle pattern? The ones that are growing beyond the first 15 – 20 years. How do they do it?

First, here is a graph of what does not occur in growing churches:

FIGURE Arn Non Typlical Church Lifecycle copy.jpg

Rather than a linear pattern of growth, churches that are growing when they shouldn’t be (based on lifecycle projections) show a “stair-step” pattern of growth, as illustrated below…

FIGURE Arn Typlical Church Growth Lifecycle copy.jpg

Here’s an important insight: Most churches that are growing at a time when they should be plateaued or declining have begun new lifecycles! Something has interrupted the church’s normal pattern—I call it an “intervention event”—and a new lifecycle has begun before the old lifecycle has pulled them into decline or death.

Beginning a New Lifecycle

The secret to beginning a new lifecycle is just that… beginning something new. An intervention event is an interruption in the status quo. These interruptions are sometimes “controllable,” sometimes not. Hopefully they are perceived as “good,” but sometimes the interruptions seem “bad.” Whatever their nature, intervention events “change the rules.” And, with a change in rules comes an opportunity to reconnect with the passion—the mission—which was the source of growth in the early stage of the church’s lifecycle.

Here are some intervention events I have seen ignite new enthusiasm and mission in a church that was on the flat or backside of its lifecycle:

  1. A change of pastors
  2. A crisis
  3. Planting a church
  4. Closing, then re-opening the church
  5. Renewal of the pastor
  6. Renewal of the laity
  7. Denominational intervention
  8. An outside consultant
  9. Relocation of the church facilities
  10. Beginning a new (style) worship service

There is no guarantee that an event which disrupts a church’s status quo will automatically begin a new lifecycle. An intervention event is simply a moment in a church’s life when “the time is right” for change. Intervention events provide open “doors of opportunity,” but not every church is either aware of this fateful moment, or chooses to walk through those open doors and begin a new lifecycle. (By the way, of all the “controlled” interventions I have seen, adding a new style worship service is consistently the most successful in beginning a new lifecycle.[2])

There are three places in a church’s lifecycle where the intervention event might occur—the growth stage, the plateau stage, or the decline stage. The results of the intervention in a church will vary depending on where it is in the lifecycle:

 FIGURE Arn Critical Points Church Lifecycle copy.jpg

Critical Point “A”

Introducing an intervention strategy at this point in a church’s lifecycle is reasonably difficult. But it is ideally the best time and place to do so. The difficulty comes as lay leaders look at the present church attendance—higher each year than the year before—and wonder whether the benefit of significant change is worth the risk. Things seem to be going reasonably well in the church. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

Despite the challenge of introducing significant change at this point, church leaders that successfully do so will add at least ten years of growth to the church’s present lifecycle. For such churches, the “new rules” serve as a booster to maintain the momentum of growth. Beginning a new lifecycle while the church is still growing continues the outreach priority before the gravity of the old lifecycle can pull the church out of its growth and missional mindset.

Critical Point B

If your church’s worship attendance has been plateaued for the past ten to fifteen years (no more than a ±5% change), a successful intervention strategy will help to avoid the attendance decline that is soon to follow. Critical Point “B” is actually the easiest time to gain congregational support for a new way of doing things. An assessment of church attendance will confirm non-growth. But because these churches have experienced growth in the relatively recent past, and generally want to see an increase in attendance, a well-conceived intervention strategy is likely to receive a positive endorsement. The exception is when the following three ingredients come together: the church is able to easily meet its financial obligations (perhaps through an endowment), the sanctuary is at least 50% full on an average Sunday, and the congregation has little taste for involvement in outward-focused activities.

Critical Point “C”

If an intervention strategy is not introduced at this point, the church will slip into a coma beyond resuscitation. It is difficult to know exactly when a church reaches this point in its lifecycle. In reality, it is the point of no return. One of the intervention events noted earlier can be most successful at this point—closing the church, then beginning the process of planting a new church which opens the following year.

Most churches beyond Point C in the lifecycle do not have the energy, vision, or resources to live through a major change. The situation is not unlike a dying person so weak that further surgery would hasten the end rather than prolong it. However, if there is still an adamant desire for life in a church at this point, it is usually easy to get a “survival vote” supporting the intervention. Even then, however, more people are willing to vote for the change than to actively participate in its pursuit.

Conclusion

Time and space do not allow for a detailed discussion of every phase in a church’s lifecycle. [3] Indeed, re-missionalizing a church’s priorities involves many activities. Accounting for the lifecycle effect is just one of those concerns. But it is an important one, because an increased understanding of lifecycles will help you plan more strategically for how to recapture your church’s missional priorities.

To consider the lifecycle factor in your church, and how to make it your ally, I suggest that you …

  • graph the attendance of your church since its inception, and discuss whether you can see the lifecycle pattern(s) in your history;
  • discuss what events occurred that might have precipitated any new lifecycles that occurred in your church’s history;
  • duplicate the chart on page 3 and ask church leaders to identify where they believe the church presently is on each item;
  • ask whether your present location on the lifecycle has an influence in your ability to identify and pursue your church’s mission;
  • discuss whether your church needs to consider an intervention strategy to begin a new lifecycle. And if so, what are the next steps.

[1] Robert Orr, “Is Your Church in a Mid-Life Crisis?” in The Growth Report, No. 4, Institute for American Church Growth, Pasadena, California.

[2] Because of this, I researched the process of starting a new service, and reported it in the book How to Start a New Service (Baker, 1997).

[3] Gary McIntosh has written an excellent new book (not yet published as of this writing) entitled Church Lifecycles. I strongly recommend his work for a much more comprehensive exploration of this important dynamic of church lifecycles.

NEW IDEAS & 7 Lessons for Avoiding A Church Split When You Introduce a New Idea

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2009.

For 20+ years I have studied how to successfully employ intervention events (i.e. introducing “new ideas” such as new programs, new pastor, etc. to intervene in a church’s decline).  Below are my top 7 tips for successfully doing so.

These insights are needed today, because a growing literature in church management and group exit suggests that without an understanding of some of the following lessons, most attempts to introduce an intervention event will not start the church on a new life-cycle, but rather split it into two smaller groups of which neither will survive.

However, seven (7) lessons are introduced (below) to make the change agent aware that before she or he creates an intervention event, they must also be prepared to study and manage the process that follows that intervention.

Lesson 1: Usually, intervention events will produce a church exit. Arn (2009) is correct that life-cycles play an important role in managing organization behavior. Management researchers Dyke and Starke (1999:810-811) concur with Arn that new life-cycles can be fostered by, in Arn’s words, “beginning something new … an intervention event” (2009:9). However, group studies literature warns that introducing an intervention event, with proper knowledge of the six-stage process model involved, will in all likelihood produce a group exit (Dyke and Starke, 1996, 1999).

Lesson 2: Usually, intervention events produce a group exit, because intervention events usually polarize the church into competing groups. Pondy (1967) discovered that introducing an idea which conflicts with a organization’s status quo, usually produces enough conflict for opposing sub-groups to form. Dyke and Starke label one group (the group proposing change) “change proponents” and the resistant group the “status quo” (1999:805-806)

Lesson 3: Most people aren’t polarized from each other, until an intervention event. Dyke and Starke concur with Pondy’s conclusion that “felt conflict follows manifest conflict” (1967). This means that most people won’t get upset until after they witness some visible or “manifest” intervention (e.g. see Arn’s list of “intervention events,” 2009:9) over which they disagree with others.[1] Thus, when an interventionist (Schaller 1997) uncritically introduces or supports an intervention, a visible (i.e. manifest) conflict event often ensues which then gets previously non-conflicted people riled up. The intervention event creates such deep internal felt conflict in individuals, that the result is a deep-seated conflict that usually spins out of control (Dyke and Starke 1996). Some may wonder if the conflict that results from intervention events is unavoidable, but Dyke and Starke have demonstrated that it is not (ibid). This leads us to the lesson 4.

Lesson 4: If the reaction to the intervention event is not managed, the change proponents will leave as a group, create a new organization that will compete with the mother congregation, and usually both groups will die. Dyke and Starke (1996:159-174) discovered that typically such intervention events propel Pondy’s sub-group into a trajectory that leads to a “spin-off” or “unplanned birth” of a competitive organization. Lau and Murnigham (1998) observe that the ensuing “we-they” competition creates two unstable organizations. Case study research has supported the grounded theory of Lau and Murningham, and Dyke and Starke (Whitesel 2004, 2009:151-169). An ecclesial organization will usually not have sufficient economy of scale to survive this exit behavior, especially if the sub-group that exits the organization is comprised of change proponents (as it usually is, according to Dyke and Starke 1999:810-811).

Lesson 5: To manage the results of an Intervention Event, ecclesial leaders must understand the “Process Model for Group Exit and Retention.” If an ecclesial leader wishes to retain her or his change proponents, an intervention event should not be undertaken without a preparation to manage the ensuing process model of group exit (an organizational model has been put forth by Dyke and Starke, 1999; and a simpler model has been put forth by Whitesel 2007, 2009:151-169, 177).

Lesson 6: At Trigger 2, go slow … build consensus … and succeed. Church leaders that keep their congregations unified and thwart group exit, undertake two (2) of the “trigger events” differently (Dyke and Starke 1999: 811-815). Trigger 1 (a legitimating event) occurs when change proponents bring a new idea to a leader, and the leader enthusiastically “blesses” or “inadvertently legitimates” the new idea. Dyke and Starke found that if the leader does so, change proponents will run too fast with the new idea. While the status quo will be initially tolerant, they will later resent the fact that they were not consulted. The result is a church split (and group exit). Instead, leaders that kept their church unified went slow … built consensus … and succeeded. When new ideas were brought to a church leader, the uniting leader slowed down the change proponents, encouraged them to go through proper channels (creating compromise and consensus), and even had them dialogue with people who the church leader knew would be suspicious, apprehensive and/or contrary.

Lesson 7: At Trigger 4 the effective leader plans for conflict, uses conflict-resolution skills and emphasizes the power of unity. Dyke and Starke found that even when Trigger 2 was handled correctly, conflict will still occur. However, the unifying leader plans for conflict, and when it arises, he or she brings the different sides together to stress that they can do more together than apart. Therefore, instead of a “polarizing event” on the route to group exit, Trigger 4 becomes a “harmonizing event” on the route to group retention and “dissonant harmony” (Dyke and Starke1999:811-815). Thus, a uniting leader plans for conflict, learns conflict resolution skills, and is adept at inspiring a church to see it can do more together, than apart.

If a leader wishes to assist the church in embarking upon a new lifecycle which Arn laudably suggests (rather than fostering more typical group exit behavior) then he or she should familiarize themselves with the process model of group exit (Dyke and Starke 1999:813, Whitesel 2003:177).

[1] This initial repression may be due to Christians typically eschewing conflict (Whitesel 2003:85-93).

FIGURE Staying Power Process Model p. 177

Citations:

Charles Arn, “Where is Your Church in Its Missional Lifecycle?” (Marion, Ind.: Indiana Wesleyan University, 2009).

Bruno Dyke and Frederick A. Starke, “The Formation of Breakaway Organizations: Observations and a Process Model,” Administrative Science Quarterly 44 (Ithaca, NY: Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, 1999), 792-822.

Bruno Dyke and Frederick A. Starke, “Upheavals in Congregations: The Causes and Outcomes of Splits,” Review of Religious Research 38 (NY: Religious Research Association, 1996), 159-174.

Louis R. Pondy, “Organizational Conflict: Concepts and Models,” Administrative Science Quarterly 12 (Ithaca, NY: Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, 1999), 296-320

Dora Lau and J. Keith Murnigham, “Demographic Diversity and Faultlines: The Compositional Dynamics of Organizational Groups,” Academy of Management Review 23, 325-340)

Lyle Schaller, The Interventionist (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997).

Bob Whitesel, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change and What You Can Do About It (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004).

Bob Whitesel, Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis: The Wesleyan Publishing House, 2008).

 

MULTIPLICATION & 7 Statistics That Predict Church Growth #HartfordInstitute

By Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 3/21/16.

Analysis of the American Congregations 2015 study finds seven statistics played a role in which churches experienced significant growth since 2010.

1. Growing location — The old real estate adage applies to churches. Growth is connected to “location, location, location.”

More than half (59 percent) of churches in a new suburb grew at least 2 percent in the past five years. Those in other locations were less likely to experience similar growth—only 44 percent grew at that rate.

2. Younger congregation — Churches whose membership was at least a third senior adults were less likely to grow than other churches.

Only 36 percent of churches heavily attended by senior citizens grew 2 percent or more in the last five years. Almost half (48 percent) of churches where seniors were less than one-third grew.

3. Innovative worship — Congregations who describe their worship service as “very innovative” are almost 10 percent more likely to grow than others.

Less than 44 percent of churches that say they have little to some innovation in worship grew, while more than 53 percent of churches with very innovative worship grew.

4. Lack of serious conflict — Fighting churches are not growing churches. Serious conflict stunts growth.

For churches that maintained relative calm—no serious conflict in the past five years—more than half grew. Only 29 percent of churches with serious conflict did the same.

5. Involved church members — Simply put, the more laity is involved in recruiting new people the more likely a church will grow.

How likely is it that a church grew? For those whose laity was …

  • Not at all involved: 35 percent
  • Involved a little or some: 45 percent
  • Involved quite a bit: 63 percent
  • Involvement a lot: 90 percent

6. Unique identity — If churches worked to discover and present to their community what makes them different from other area churches, they are more likely to grow.

Almost 58 percent of churches who distinguished themselves from other congregations grew, compared to 43 percent of churches who showed little to no difference.

7. Specialized program — Similarly, if churches establish a program as a congregational specialty, they are more likely to grow.

Close to 52 percent of churches that have at least one specialty grew, while less than 42 percent of congregations who claimed no specialty did the same.

These seven statistics from the American Congregations 2015 study give a picture of the churches bucking the trend of decline across U.S. churches.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/03/17/7-statistics-that-predict-church-growth/#.Vu_fmEX3aJI

Hashtags: #StLiz #StLizTX  #Renovate16 #StMarksTX

CREATIVITY & Why Creative People Say No: Because Saying “No” Has More Creative Power

“Creative People Say No” is an extract from Kevin Ashton’s book, “How to Fly a Horse  —  The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery,” available here.

A Hungarian psychology professor once wrote to famous creators asking them to be interviewed for a book he was writing.

One of the most interesting things about his project was how many people said “no.”

Management writer Peter Drucker: “One of the secrets of productivity (in which I believe whereas I do not believe in creativity) is to have a VERY BIG waste paper basket to take care of ALL invitations such as yours — productivity in my experience consists of NOT doing anything that helps the work of other people but to spend all one’s time on the work the Good Lord has fitted one to do, and to do well…”

The professor contacted 275 creative people. A third of them said “no.” Their reason was lack of time. A third said nothing. We can assume their reason for not even saying “no” was also lack of time and possibly lack of a secretary.

Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.

Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time.

No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.

Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.

We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.

Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say “no?”

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-creative-people-say-no-2015-1

INNOVATION & These Churches Influence You More than You Realize! #LeadershipNetwork

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Two of my research colleagues, Dr.s Elmer Towns and Warren Bird have just released an interview discussing innovative churches of the 20th Century and how they have impacted how we do ministry today. Dr. Towns has been a mentor to both myself and Warren, and I think you will glean historical insights from this interview.

Watch the video interview here … https://youtu.be/xnT8nha9v74

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/these-churches-influence-you-more-than-you-realize/