Idea Productivity: my friend AND my enemy
As I opened my blog control panel last night to work on (and hopefully complete) a few blog posts, I was frustrated to find that I have more unfinished “draft” blog postings that are not completed or posted within my blog site than I have actual, published postings (and I’ve posted 56 blog postings so far!). To my regular blog readers, I’m sorry that new blog posts haven’t appeared particularly “regularly” as of late.
So not only was I frustrated to be reminded of my many started but not yet finished blog posts, I was also amused — because it reminded me of my “Idea Productivity” blessing and curse.
Let me explain.
Thanks to the generosity of a relative of mine on one of my birthdays a couple of years ago, I had the privilege to take part in a leadership development and personality assessment comprised of two individual assessments: the MBTI-II (Myers-Brigg Type Indicator II) and the Highlands Ability Battery. This was a perfect gift for me, because those who know me well are aware of my fascination with personality studies, leadership profiles, and other personal characteristic evaluative mechanisms. My interest in that world is strong enough that I’ve even thought about spending the time and money to become a licensed Myers-Brigg facilitator so that I can officially administer and interpret the Myers-Brigg test for others.
Anyhow, on the Highlands Ability Battery that I completed a year ago, one of my highest-ranked “driving abilities”, as it calls them, was Idea Productivity. It explains Idea Productivity in this way:
Leaders who score high in idea productivity (Brainstormers) generate ideas continually. A measure of the quantity of ideas produced, and not of their quality, high idea productivity results in a continuous stream of sometimes-related and frequently-unrelated ideas and in multiple streams of virtually simultaneous thought. Brainstorming leaders excel in roles that draw on their strength in producing their own ideas, inducing others to produce theirs, and motivating the discussion and selection of ideas that lead to a concerted plan or solution.
Because one idea tends to trigger another, leaders with high idea productivity often work on several projects simultaneously; they may actually have difficulty maintaining a single focus for prolonged periods of time. If they have 10 tasks and ten days in which to complete them, these leaders will devote some time to each of the tasks every day and may or may not complete them by the deadline. (Source: tHAB Leadership Report for Phil Murray, January 2009)
I was thrilled to get a better grasp on this part of my personality and approach, and I constantly (and annoyingly) pointed out the many wonderful examples of this Idea Productivity to my wife ad nauseum for weeks after completing the assessment. And you can probably understand why this attribute is such a strength and yet also such a weakness. As a strength, it makes me a great contributor in a brainstorming session, it allows me to multi-task, keep a lot of balls in the air at once and accomplish work quickly across a broad spectrum of subject areas. It provides me with a constant stream of ideas, and makes it relatively easy for me to see solutions to many difficult problems. On the flip side, it’s also the attribute that will get me producing new things at such a high rate that I don’t bring projects to completion — such as my 59 started but unfinished blog posts as of tonight!
In a work setting I am very cognizant of deadlines and accountability needs and so generally this does not create a huge problem — in fact, in my role I’m often the individual laying out the deadlines, holding people to them, and all the while trying to lead by example. But in my personal life, it keeps me spread thin across many projects, books, and relationships and often keeps me from being as effective as I could be. It’s also the attribute that doles out a bit of insomnia to me from time to time as I often awake in the middle of the night just to let my mind kick into high gear.
To be clear, this is not a personal rant or complaining session. Rather, I thought it would be a good way to expose more people to this strength of Idea Productivity. This may help many of you better understand the constant flow of ideas that seem to pass through your mind, or better understand how your spouse or co-worker “thinks”.
And, like any strength, it has a “weakness” attached to it on the other side of the coin. But remember, thanks to “Idea Productivity”, you just read another blog post from me. Happy brainstorming!