The HeadScratcher Post Archive
April  2011
       April 2011 The Headscratcher Post Headscratchers LLC    Edition 70

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Idea generation has its place. At the beginning of projects and initiatives you want to generate ideas, you want creativity, and you'll want to give it due time. However, at one point in a project, you need to decide, you need execute and get things done.  The thinking is different, and sometimes the people who are doing the thinking need to be different too.

"v" - To open, create, and inVent; Pronounced "Vee"
"^" - To Close, decide and execute; Pronounced "Cap"

v-Thinking(Vee-Thinking) New Ideas, New approaches, New Variations.
^-Thinking(Cap-Thinking) Choosing the course, Closing issues, Executing

v-Time: The time in a project or initiative that warrants v-Thinking
^-Time: The time in a project or initiative for closure and ^-Thinking.

v-People - Some people are naturally good at coming up with new ideas.   Some of those people are non-stop about it.  They keep coming up with new ideas, even after all decisions are made.  Their input is extremely valuable during the beginning of projects and initiatives, but they can be less productive as things are decided, because they still want to invent. 

^-People - Some people are naturally good at focusing on what has to be done and are driven to get it done.  Some of those people are non-stop about it.  Closure and Done is their focus.   These folks are critical for project completion.  However, at the beginning of a project, they might try to close down new ideas in the namesake of moving on, deciding and getting it done.

Here's a thinking diagram of a project ...

Note: The project starts at the bottom of the diamond, so read from the bottom up !

Project X - Finish

This is the period of time when closure occurs.  In this mode, tasks are being executed and closed.   Occasionally a new idea is raised, but the focus is closure.  We use the "^" symbol to represent the closure of issues and tasks.  At this time in a project, v-Thinking becomes less of a focus as closure is the goal, ^-Thinking takes over, led by ^-People

^-People - Wake up! It's time to get things done
v-People - It might be time you moved on to another project !
This is the period of time when new ideas are generated.   We call it v-TimeWe use the symbol "v" to represent opening of new ideas.  In this  mode, v-People are especially impactful, as they are tasked with new ideas and creativity.  v-People are idea generators.  They live to create new ideas.   Occasionally new ideas are capped, but the focus is on creativity.  (v-People don't like to cap ideas !).

Project X - Start

During v-Time, v-People have the lead. However ^-People can still have significant contributions as they are often looking at the details.  Similarly,  during ^-Time, when issues are being closed, decided and executed, v-people can also contribute, especially when something unexpected occurs.   The plan may need to change and you might have to go through a little v-Thinking to figure out a new plan.

Can the same individual be a v-Thinker and ^-Thinker?Yes of course.  We all have both v-Thinking and ^-Thinking in us.   However, some people, perhaps just 1 in a hundred, are extreme v-Thinkers, or ^-ThinkersThese folks can make major contributions, but are potentially disruptive to the team if left to exercise their thinking at the wrong time.   An extreme v-Thinker needs to go on to another project when v-Time becomes ^-Time.   Similarly, an extreme ^-Thinker should spend very little time with the team during the beginning of v-Time because they'll pace back and forth waiting for closure and decisions so they can execute.

The Takeaway:  We all have v-Thinking and ^-Thinking in usSome more than others.  Put on your v-Thinking and ^-Thinking hat at the appropriate time and you'll be very productive.  However, wearing the wrong hat at the wrong time will be less productive and frustrating for all.   For the extreme v and ^ Thinkers ... let them move between projects and initiatives to gain the best value they have to offer.

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