In the last module we painted a pretty dark picture of team creativity. That's right. Could we be darker than we were last time? Everything you do in a team will make you not creative. But that's not true. Right, yeah. So, my sense was that teams often set up a lot of norms that work against creativity. Right. And the key thing is if you put a team together and just expect it to work without any effort it's not going to happen. Teams resort to blind conformity, obedience, they tend to remain silent about key things, they tend to be overconfident. But there are actually things you can do to work around those problems. Can we flip the norms? Yeah, absolutely. So, we can use those norms to actually facilitate the creative process. And in this module we're going to show you how to do that. So if you're going to put a team together with the goal of accomplishing something creative, the first question to ask is what should the composition be? How do you form this team? And what mix of personalities might be best for this particular task? And you might be tempted to look for the most creative people you can find and put them all in a team together because, after all if you get everyone who is creative working together, the outcome would have to be creative. But it's actually more complicated than that, and it actually might not be such a good idea to compose a team made of almost nothing but creative people. Creative personalities tend to be rebellious, non-conforming, and unpredictable. And as we'll see, these are good qualities for creativity, but they aren't necessarily helpful for every aspect of the creative process. In fact, you can get carried away in almost go too far with those kinds of behaviors. So, you really need some personalities to reign them in. And with that goal in mind, there are two other traits that are worth considering. What is the personality in which people tend to conform? And so, as we learned in the last module there are some people who just tend to be willing to ignore their own point of view and adopt the one espoused by the group. These are the conformers. The other personality trait to consider is attention to detail. Do people focus narrowly on the tiny details and strive for perfection? And it turns out that the ideal personality mix is mainly creative people, but you also want one or two of the conformists in there working together. Creatives are useful for enhancing conflict which can help the team really think creatively and consider alternative perspectives. And they're necessary to get teams to consider and integrate more perspectives. However, the conformist are also useful for providing the structure and efficient execution necessary to bring ideas to fruition. You can think of them as playing the glue role in the team. The one trait that actually diminishes creativity are the people who are excessively focused on the tiny details to the exclusion of the big picture. There's actually a lot of evidence that suggests that having even one of them on your team isn't necessarily good for creativity, and having too many of them can actually backfire and reduce creativity. I was really intrigued by an example that came from a former designer at Google who summed up this problem nicely. He said that the problem at Google was that there were teams of engineers who were all examples of this attentive to detail personality. And they would do things like for example, obsess over what shade of blue a logo should be, and then actively consider 41 different shades of blue before they reached the decision. Or they would argue over whether a border should be four or five pixels wide. That narrow and obsessive attention to detail ends up being paralyzing and it can prevent your team from taking risks and considering more creative directions. So, when you form a team with creativity in mind, the first place you have to start is to think about the right mix of personalities. And you don't necessarily want everyone to be these highly creative personalities that we have heard about, but you want to mix that includes people who are going to play the glue role. The more co-operative types to make sure that there is efficient execution. So, composition is key and you want to get the right mix of personalities. But one trait that gets a bad rap it is actually good for team creativity is the trait called narcissism. And narcissism sounds really like what it is. Narcissists are self aggrandizing, self-absorbed, and overconfident. They tend to take more credit for teamwork than they deserve, and they also respond to criticism with outright aggression. You might know someone like that. Hell, you might have even voted for one. But anyway, narcissism has been linked to a lot of negative behaviors as you can imagine. But there is some evidence that having one or two of them on your team might actually help the team reach more creative solution. So, what's the evidence for that? My colleagues and I followed teams working together on a project over a period of 15 weeks. We measured each team members narcissism right at the beginning of the project, and then correlated that with a measure of how creative their final idea was at the end of the project. So, how creative were their suggestions for improving a particular organization? And we found a curvilinear relationship such that having zero narcissists was not good for creativity. Those teams were boring, they agreed quickly, they move through, they were efficient but the end product was not particularly interesting. On the other hand, having all narcissists was a complete disaster because they couldn't even agree on which idea to pursue. They were so busy arguing that they would actually avoid meeting each other, and it was a very dysfunctional relationship. But what was interesting was that sweet spot where there was a 50-50 mix. And that was the point at which the teams were the most creative. And the reason is that narcissists tend to try hard to stand out and get attention by suggesting more outlandish ideas. And so, they break through that fear that teams might typically develop about taking risks and sharing ideas that might be controversial. And they might not even be the most creative necessarily, but they can do the crazy things that inspire the rest of the group to take more risks, and will consider more alternative directions. So, they might be annoying, but they are, it turns out helpful for creativity. So, even with a right mix of personalities things still can get stale after a while. People may have started out with unique knowledge, but once that knowledge is shared, everyone starts to operate from the same knowledge base. Groups who work together a long time can also form habits that aren't necessarily fruitful. They can begin to share perspectives that aren't necessarily aware of but are constraining anyway. So, how do we deal with this? One way is membership change. That can address some of these issues. Rotating membership in the team so the team introduces new members periodically, boosts creativity. Newcomers can know things that are useful that the other team members don't know, they can integrate their new knowledge into the group and that can spark creative ideas from the existing group members. Outsiders also are not yet socialized to the norms of the group. So, they can say or do the wrong thing and make the team aware of the habits that they've developed over time that haven't necessarily been helpful. Once those habits are made obvious then there can be a discussion about changing them. So, welcome newcomers and engage them in your discussion in your team. You might learn something new. All right. We we're forming a team with the goal being creative. It's really tempting to be haphazard about who you put in the team. Right? But it's actually crucial that you think through who's going to be on it and for what reason. Absolutely. Yeah. And another tempting thing is to avoid difficult people. We don't like to deal with the jerks but sometimes you need that to shake things up and generate a little bit of productive conflicts. And then finally, we learn that it's important not to get stuck in a rut. Once the team's been working together for a while you get stuck in old habits. And so, it can help to bring new people in, rotate old people off especially if you don't like them you get rid of them, just kidding. Goodbye, it's been a pleasure working with you. Rotated off. Rotating off. Yeah, but the membership change is important. So, once you have composition down, then you can start to think about the kinds of norms you want in place to foster creative expression.