“But, I want my team to feel free to approach problems on their own terms,” Monica insisted. “I don’t want to stifle their creativity. But often, my team just wanders in a state of confusion, trying to solve a problem that’s not that difficult.”
“It’s a bit of a paradox, isn’t it?” I replied. “We think if we set limits, then we stifle the team, when limits can be actually be very productive. If we set the limits too narrow, then there is little opportunity to discover a new or better method. Yet, if we set the limits too wide, we promote confusion, disarray, introduce delay.”
“That’s what I see, I think I am promoting creativity by giving free reign, but the outcome often falls short,” Monica nodded.
“The thing is, we live with limits all the time. Social structures are designed to impose limits on those involved. Organizational structures are designed to define the limits within which reality lives. They are not designed to stifle, but designed to release creativity in real productive ways.”
“Like, when I tell the team to contribute ideas where money is no object, when the reality is, there is always a limit to the budget.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “You may gather ideas with an unlimited budget, but there is always that reality that tempers the ideas. Brainstorming has its place, but so does problem-solving.”