“I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure how to get there, but I know I want to be there.”
Not exactly a model for a strategic plan, but a good summary of a creative life plan. When I teach about creative process and provide tools to help people become more creative I do stress that being in the process and not being goal oriented is important. This is the way I’m naturally wired to think, or not think! However, as I’ve become more of a businessman in response to the success of our musical team building activities, I’ve had to learn to think of concrete goals and then plan how to approach them. I do this by surrounding myself with people who have skills and strengths that I don’t. For example, while visiting with my friend and coach Jessica Levin last week I casually threw out a thought I’d been consumed with for several weeks, “I need to find a business partner to take this thing to the next level”. Jessica’s response was to ask important questions: Why, how, who, when? Uhh….. I couldn’t answer. And with her help I quickly realized I didn’t need a partner, I just needed to outsource some of the tasks overwhelming me, a much simpler thing to do than find a business partner.
To the point: I have clients who don’t know where they’re going, not sure how to get there, but they know they want to be there. The problem is, they’re not even sure where ‘there’ is. They’ve been told that they should do some team building and so they contact me. It’s my job to ask them questions, to help them focus in on, and whittle down to why they want to do some creative work and creative play. I help translate their broad desire into a defined process with a beginning, middle and end. Most often, clients want their teams to be more engaged, to learn creative tools for problem solving, to have fun and enhance camaraderie. For me, the engagement is the easy part. Music brings everyone into a fun, inclusive and absorbing process. The goal simply stated is to write a song. More defined, it’s to help groups distill the essence of who they are, what they stand for and where they want to go. The process of taking the vague desire to do a team building activity and putting beginning, middle and end to it, mirrors the challenge we all face with our strategic plans and methods of operating.
Team Building, Engagement and Goals
- The beginning: Schedule a creative brainstorming session and make note of ideas
- The middle: Look for themes, repetition of ideas, words that mirror your culture, reflect your mission and express your desire to move forward. Where is that forward you’re moving to?
- The end: What would your song say? Can you whittle your brainstorm down to a succinct, catchy, memorable radio-friendly hit?