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The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - Idea Fluency

Updated on July 31, 2010

Any previous act of creativity, in time becomes the norm and thereby commonplace. We basically see what we are socially encouraged to see, and this puts a severe crimp in our ability to be creative. We avoid seeing the seemingly impossible, not because something is impossible, but because our minds have been conditioned to look in specific directions. In fact, one could argue that everything you do in your business once started as an act of creativity.

Many old rules simply no longer apply to modern business, but we behave as if they do. The challenge we all face is learning to think in new models, recognizing our limiting patterns of belief, and abandoning the irrelevant. One of the best ways to do this is to regularly practice the characteristics of creative people.

Characteristics Of Creative People

If you say the first word that comes into your mind when you hear the word "table," it probably will be "chair." For "cat," it likely will be "dog."

Nobody would think of these answers as creative responses as they are common responses. If you want to be creative, your answers or approaches must go beyond what everyone else does or says, or what is the first thing on your mind.

Is it possible to do this? If you accept the notion that creativity is a skill with identifiable characteristics that can be developed with practice, then it can be done. Research in this field reduces creativity to the following six basic characteristics, which could also be called styles of thinking, or even work tactics:

  • Fluency of ideas
  • Withholding of judgment
  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Flexibility & imagination
  • Focus or immersion in the subject
  • Preference for disorder

Fluency Of Ideas

The more creative people are, the more ideas they can produce in a given time. Most of these ideas may be useless, or at the best, are only related but not workable solutions. A poet may consider 50 to 100 words before choosing an illuminating turn of phrase. If the poet could think of only five word choices, chances are the poetry would be mundane. If you can produce 30 ideas to better funding for your business, you are likely to find one gem among the 30.

Most people do not produce their best ideas until their brain has first sorted through common ideas. It is almost as if the brain needs to get "warmed up" in the same way the athlete warms up before training or competition. When you face a challenge in your business, engage your team in brainstorming. A few good ideas to get the creative juices flowing consist of, providing your group with magazines to look at, play music, and create an environment where ideas are more likely to be inspired.

Withholding Judgment

Because it is difficult to develop new ideas if they are simultaneously being evaluated, being fluent with ideas is related to withholding judgment. When judging, we are looking for what does not work or fit, rather than considering what might work or fit.

Continued in The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - Tolerance

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