Smart or Creative?

When I was a kid, I’d ask my Mom whether it was better to have broad or deep knowledge. Her response: “It’s better to have broad, deep knowledge.”    (N4M)

My friend, Lisa Chu, asked me a similar question recently: Would you rather be called smarter or more creative?    (N4N)

I thought it was a great question, so I did a straw poll on Twitter and Facebook. The results? Overwhelmingly “creative.” In fact, only one person responded, “smarter.” A few folks avoided the question and chose both.    (N4O)

Choice responses:    (N4P)

  • Cindy Alvarez responded: “Creative, definitely. Smart w/o creative implies you function brilliantly – but only if all conditions optimal. Which they never are.”    (N4Q)
  • Leah Detlefson: “I would rather be (and be known as) creative. Smart to me implies quick and clever, but creative implies seeing a wider range of possibilities and solutions.”    (N4R)
  • Jason Lau: “IMO, no such thing as a creative dumb guy. So creative.”    (N4S)

My response? My first instinct would be to avoid the question and answer, “Both.” But if I absolutely had to choose, I would say “creative.”    (N4T)

What’s your response? And are you surprised by these results?    (N4U)

High-Performance Knowledge Work: Practice, Practice, Practice

I talk a lot about the goal of being a “high-performance” knowledge worker, of achieving “high-performance” collaboration. I’m certainly not the only one. But what does it truly mean to be “high-performance”?    (N24)

One way to answer that question is to think about fields where the answer is more clear, such as sports, music, and medicine. Last year, I wrote:    (N25)

Medicine is a great model for what’s in store for other types of KnowledgeWorkers in this rapidly changing world. I know very few KnowledgeWorkers who spend as much time learning and honing their skills as doctors do. Can you imagine what we could accomplish in this world if we did?  T    (N26)

My friend, Lisa Chu, founded a violin school for kids, and she often blogs about the discipline required to achieve greatness. Recently, she quoted Brian Johnson, who wrote, “The higher the greats climb, the GREATER the need for practice.”    (N27)

Think about the work that world-class athletes, musicians, and doctors put in to stay on top of their game: the discipline, the training, the emphasis on fundamentals. Do any of us Knowledge Workers really apply the same standards to our crafts?    (N28)