Right brain thinkers bring new ideas to team

April 20, 2014

Q I’ve always hired the best and brightest with the top expertise and track record. As a result, my high-performing team keeps producing successful but predictable solutions. What else should I be looking for in new hires to add innovation?

A: Innovators are also often well-trained experts in their field who are also curious nonconformists, open to new experiences.

Look for non-linear thinkers who thrive on complex puzzles.  They apply knowledge creatively and push the limits on conventional thinking by challenging underlying assumptions and the status quo. Their strong right brain function strives for unique solutions.

Innovators are often proactive, enthusiastic early adopters. They love novelty and are gifted at brainstorming, generating ideas and envisioning the possibilities at the front end of a project.  They are often better at spotting problems and opportunities rather than solving them. The more linear thinkers will be better at executing the plan.

Innovators are adaptive, resilient and have an entrepreneurial mindset. They value persistence, collaboration and creative discussion to test the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of their ideas.

Those who are flexible enough to include and incorporate others’ ideas are best for a team. They are committed to generating the best solution rather than their solution.

While innovators produce ingenious solutions, working with them requires additional time for the creative process before achieving deliverables. Innovation requires creativity, the ability to access the usefulness, and then implementing the idea for a successful solution.

This new team dynamic can be disorienting and uncomfortable for the existing members.  During this transition, facilitate the culture shift by supporting members to leverage their own unique strengths, include and optimize their different capabilities, and work cohesively to reach a common purpose.

These characteristics will round out your team.

Originally published in The Province April 13, 2014.

The Mom Song to William Tell Overture

May 10, 2009

In Celebration of one of the most paradoxical roles in the world.  Motherhood-  really parenthood- is the most rewarding yet often unrecognized, tireless and tiring, as profoundly joyful and it is painful, grows you and ages you.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

The 24 hour daily refrain can be condensed to about 3 minutes.   Yay. More time for fun together.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

Free Hugs Campaign

April 14, 2009

An Australian man known by the pseudonym “Juan Mann” (pronounced one man) carried a Free Hugs sign in a Sydney mall on June 30th 2004 in an effort to give and receive a free hug from a stranger because he needed one himself  that day.

Mann said, “The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning.  How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.  Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven’t compared.  But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time.”

Believing that one person can make a difference to another through a simple and random act of kindness, Mann continued to offer free hugs to make others feel better.  As others joined in, the popularity of Free Hugs grew to the point that public authorities concerned about public liability, tried to stop the campaign in October 2004.  Mann submitted a 10,000 name petition and was permitted to continue.

The campaign received international attention in 2006 when a video was uploaded to YouTube.  Mann appeared on Oprah and has generated a following of 27 million viewers.  In 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper reported Free Hugs as one of the top 20 brands in Australia.

This simple gesture based on Mann’s own personal need inspired Generation Ys to spread a movement symbolizing kindness, connection and joy to over 80 countries.