If Steve Jobs Worked For You, You’d Probably Fire Him

Highly talented people are key to innovation success. And yet, the best, brightest, and truly “different” thinkers are hard to find, understand, manage, and retain. People who think differently often behave and communicate differently — and this provokes confusion and conflict. Recognition and awareness are the keys to getting innovation results. Without awareness, you might even fire the one special person who can take your organization to the next level — a fate even Steve Jobs suffered. The good news is when you know what to look for, it’s easy to recognize and support innovative thinkers (and other important kinds of thinkers) if you know how.

This new keynote, If Steve Jobs Worked For You, You’d Probably Fire Him was originally a blog post Gregg wrote about the topic of creative thinking style, published April 2012. The post went viral — it struck a nerve. It’s almost a given that talented people are mis-understood. Steve Jobs is an innovation hero now, but he was fired from his own company before he founded Pixar, and before he returned and re-created Apple. Game changers like Steve think very differently — and they can drive us nuts.

This keynote is a fascinating, fun, lively, and interactive exploration of how real people — you — think. With a better understanding of creative thinking style — and we all have a thinking style — productivity of individuals, teams, and organizations improve. This awareness of thinking style is essential to high level innovation. It’s based on solid, proven, research (Kirton, Puccio) and the talk is illustrated with real-life examples and stories. The content applies to any type of employee and any type of thinker from the C-suite to entry-level workers, from accounting to marketing and manufacturing.

Objective: Expose audience to the concept of creative thinking style and how it impacts individual, team, and organizational behaviour.

Key Learnings

1. Explore the spectrum of types of thinking from Adaptor to Innovator, and problem solving approaches (Clarifier, Idea Generator, Developer, Implementor).

2. Audience members will get a solid idea of what their own thinking style is, and optionally can pre-take an assessment. With this in mind they can think about how to adjust their behaviour to be more effective, how they can help others, and what areas they need support in. Knowledge of thinking style has also been shown to reduce stress.

3. Builds awareness of why a diversity of thinking styles is key to doing big things — so it encourages tolerance and better listening. The most productive teams are a blend of those who think “better” and those who think “different.” Unbalanced or non-diverse teams have less conflict — but are less innovative.

4. Learn why conflict with team members and associates happens — and how to break through negative patterns. Thinking style impacts communication, team dynamics, and expectations, conflict is inevitable. With improved awareness of the roots of conflict, it won’t be avoided, and, teams will progress through the conflict stage to a higher level of performance.

5. Learn why large organizations tend to shy away from hiring different thinkers, and if they do, how they try to suppress the difference they’ve hired for!

Creative thinking style is a specific, and very important aspect, of individual and organizational creativity. Allowing people to be self-expressed within their style preference is a foundational block to building a positive innovation culture. Audience members will “see themselves” and get insights about what’s happening. Ultimately, the goal is productivity  — and an awareness and appreciation of creative thinking style leads to improved communication and a boost in effectiveness.

Gregg has worked with companies large and small to assess employee creative thinking styles. Many of those organizations have seen markedly improved results in their innovation and improvement efforts. This is a relevant talk for any organization seeking to improve innovation culture and efforts.