Keep your eyes on the stars but keep your feet on the ground.’
- Theodore Roosevelt
Here we look at the second RIDO scale: How you prefer to gather and use Information: Practical or Creative; and provide three simple exercises for the time conscious to distinguish the two concepts at either end of this scale.
Begin With A Simple Definition
Firstly, explain the characteristics of each construct: Practical and Creative. Remember, no-one is always Practical or always Creative. We can all do Practical and Creative things, but the important thing to remember is that we don’t do them with equal enjoyment or comfort.
Practical - People who use a Practical approach to gathering information usually prefer to work with facts. They like to be able to touch things, weigh them, or in some way assess their worth through practical means. They like clear tasks with specific outcomes, and will prefer a tested approach. They prefer to apply their abilities to practical problems in the ‘here and now’, rather than to speculate about things that might be tried at some date in the future.
Creative - People who have a Creative approach to information gathering look for new ways of doing things. Their preference is to question the status quo, theorise and experiment with new ideas. They may avoid routine work where possible, as they are more motivated by the generation of ideas and the exploration of possibilities. They tend to concentrate on the big picture rather than the details.
Activity 1 – Map It OutGroup participants according to whether they have a preference for a Practical or Creative use of information.
Ask each group to draw a map to provide directions from the city centre to the venue you are working at. If possible, try to have the groups working where they can’t see each other’s map.
Practical: Often produce a detailed map, with specific; linear instructions e.g. “take the second left after the park, then go about 500 metres where you will see a billboard on the corner, turn right here”.
Creative: Often produce a mud map with a couple of key markers e.g. “keep going till you pass the school”, since they prefer to figure out things in their own way, rather than read the instructions!
Activity 2 - Abstract ImageSelect an image or painting (abstract art works best - see sample images) which you have downloaded from the internet and saved to you PowerPoint slides. Alternatively, if there's a painting on the wall of your training venue, use this. Ask participants to observe the image without talking and then ask, ‘what do you see?’. It is best to ask to the person/s with the highest P score, and then to the individual with the highest C score (you can obtain this information from the TMP Summary that accompanies all Team Management Profiles).
Ask the group to talk about the differences of how people with a preference for Practical and Creative describe the image. Common responses include:
Practical: Tend to focus on what’s immediately in front of them. They describe the physical attributes of the image, for example, colour, shapes, sizes and will try to make sense of the objects.
Creative: Tend to reflect on possible meanings stimulated by the image, rather than name concrete objects. They interpret the picture by bringing up associations and relating it to a personal experience.
Activity 3 – Valuing the DifferenceAsk participants to reflect on the strengths and potential pitfalls of:
- Practical information-gathering
- Creative information-gathering
Following are some questions to ensure both perspectives are considered:
More games and activities are available on our Games TMS People Play resource which all participants receive as part of accreditation in the Team Management Systems Profiles.