Today I'll move on to the next trait on the list for creative people, applying it to startups (see the introductory note at the end of this blog). The quotes are from the book cited in the endnote.
======================================================TRAIT NUMBER 9: Creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.
Application: Serial entrepreneurs are brutally critical of their own work, as well as excited about it.
“Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility. So the creative process tends to be what some respondents called a yin-yang alteration between these two extremes."
"Historian Natalie Davis says 'I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can't be so identified with your work that you can't accept criticism and response. I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something which age really does help.'"A. is wildly enthusiastic about his inventions and harshly critical of his (and others') work when it does not meet his standard.
E. is her own toughest critic and expects others to do the same. Yet she praises people objectively, acknowledging the challenging circumstances she has them working in.
A. and T. bubble with enthusiasm about their new business when strangers and reporters inquire. Yet they are very tough minded about setting a very high bar that their own work must surmount.
P. is quietly objective and positive at the same time. He is a strong cheerleader and supporter of the companies he has invested in. Yet at board meetings he is very outspoken about less than the best results delivered by the startups.
BOTTOM LINE: Experienced entrepreneurs are self critical and yet very enthusiastic about their work. They expect other employees to do the same. At board meetings they are brutally realistic, about the good work and the bad. They expect to be criticized and to be critical. It comes with the turf. It is how they build their unfair competitive advantages.
NOTE OF INTRODUCTION TO THIS SERIES ON CREATIVE STARTUP PEOPLE
That's a desired skill that stands out in great startup people: Founders, management, leaders, and employees. I also find it outstanding in the venture community: Angels, venture capitalists, bloggers, media reporters, lawyers and finance staff.
On the less positive side, creative people are also a challenge to manage (often "a pain in the neck" and worse).
I am often questioned about creative startup people, so I've decided to discuss them in a series of blogs, who they are, how to spot them and what to do about them. The series should be about ten blogs in length, spread out over the next three weeks.
I decided begin with this question: "How creative are you?"
To help you answer that question, I'll list the traits of a creative person and let you compare yourself. I expect you to be surprised (I was).
My source for the list is a mind stretching book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi entitled Creativity. He is professor and former chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, and author of several books including the bestseller, Flow. The quoted item that I use are from Creativity.