The Spark and the Scorpion
In my bookHerding Tigers, I wrote about two common kinds of people you might find on your team. The first is what I call “the spark.” This is a person who has never met an idea they don’t like. They are in perpetual idea-generation mode and can toss out a hundred of them in a half-hour meeting. They see possibilities everywhere, which may not be useful when you need to choose an idea and move on.
The second profile is “the scorpion.” They dislike every idea and immediately dismiss new thinking. Their very presence brings down the vibe of the room, because everyone knows they will be the first to offer critique. In fact, people may even look right at them when sharing an idea in anticipation of their response.
Both of these qualities can be useful. It’s important to be able to spot possibility and to play with ideas. It’s also important to be able to critique ideas to improve them. However, maintaining a balance of each quality is necessary to be effective.
Both the spark and the scorpion can disrupt the flow of your team. Strive to maintain a balance between possibility seeking and critique.
Do you skew toward one profile or the other, the spark or the scorpion?