SHEER GENIUS - OR A WASTE OF TIME?
Encourage your original thinkers and live with their strange habits, says Alan Worthin
If one of your research staff announced that he had worked out a way to propel a vehicle on a cushion of air, would you tell him to concentrate on something practical, or suggest taking it further? If a member of your development team asked if she could come in late because she had her best ideas at 3 am would you insist that she is in the office at 9 am like everyone else?
Current business wisdom is that companies need creative, innovative people to beat competitors. The reality is that companies have always needed new ideas to survive and progress, but in the past they weren't particularly good at encouraging the people who produced them.
Original thinkers don't always fit easily into the framework of an organisation. However, the advice from managing director, John Serrano is, 'Get rid of the dull people and encourage the unusual ones'. Essentially, he believes that companies need to learn how to manage their original thinkers in order to ensure that the business profits from their contribution. He also says, 'Original thinkers often find it difficult to drive change within the organisation, so they resign, feeling angry and disappointed. It is essential to avoid this.'
'You can't recognise original thinkers by the way they look,' says Ian Freeman. An apparently ordinary exterior can conceal a very creative thinker.' His consultancy, IBT Personnel, has devised a structured way to identify original thinkers. 'We define employees as champions, free-wheelers, bystanders and weak links, and most original thinkers come into the category of free-wheelers. They may miss deadlines if they become involved in something more interesting. They are passionate and highly motivated but have li ttle or no understanding of business directions and systems.'
Headhunter George Solomon also thinks original thinkers have their disadvantages. 'They may have a bad influence within an organisation, especially given the current management trend for working in teams. The original thinkers themselves may be unaware of any problem, but having them around can be disruptive to colleagues. who have to be allowed to point out when they are being driven crazy by the original thinkers' behaviour.' Yet, in his opinion, the 'dream team' in any creative organisation consists of a balanced mixture of original thinkers and more practical, realistic people.
So, having identified your original thinkers, how do you handle them? One well-known computer games company has a very inventive approach. 'We encourage our games designers by creating an informal working environment,' says director Lorna Marsh. 'A company cannot punish risk-takers if it wants to encourage creativity. Management has to provide support, coaching and advice - and take the risk that new ideas may not work. Our people have flexible working hours and often make no clear distinction between their jobs and their home lives.'
Original thinkers may fit into the culture of 21st century organisations, but more traditional organisations may have to change their approach. Business psychologist Jean Row believes that the first step is to check that original thinkers are worth the effort. 'Are the benefits they bring worth the confusion they cause? If so, give them what they want, allow plenty of space, but set clear limits. Give them extremely demanding targets. If they fail to meet them, then the game is up. But if they succeed, your organisation stands only to gain.'
13 It is important for a company to encourage original thinkers because
A this allows it to promote innovative products.
B this enables it to stay ahead of its rivals.
C they are very flexible about their working hours.
D their talents are ideally suited to the market.
14 John Serrano thinks that original thinkers should be
A helped to develop better people management skills.
B asked to manage change within the organisation.
C supported so they can perform well for the company.
D encouraged to follow company procedures.
15 What does Ian Freeman say about original thinkers?
A They are unenthusiastic and poorly motivated.
B Their work standards are impossibly high.
C Their abilities are hard to recognise.
D They lack awareness of commercial processes.
16 What problems can be observed when there are original thinkers in the workforce?
A They may have a negative effect on other workers.
B They dislike the concept of teamwork.
C They rush tasks through to completion.
D They cannot work with less creative colleagues.
17 In what way is the games company's approach to original thinkers special?
A It allows them to work from home whenever they wish.
B It uses different forms of disciplinary action for them.
C It promotes a relaxed atmosphere in the workplace.
D It encourages them to reduce the risks that they take.
18 A traditional organisation wishing to employ original thinkers needs to
A provide them with projects they are interested in.
B assess whether their contribution makes up for any problems.
C have a flexible approach if goals are not always achieved.
D be prepared to handle any negative feedback from colleagues.
《Sheer genius—or a waste of time》，純粹是天才，還是浪費時間?文章講的是公司里的那些有創意的人(original thinkers)，他們對于公司的存在到底有什么價值，公司又該怎么利用他們?
13題，問對于公司來講鼓勵有創意的人很重要的原因是什么。答案是第二段的第一句，非常明顯：Current business wisdom is that companies need creative, innovative people to beat competitors。現如今的商業智慧是公司需要有創造性的、創新型的人才來打敗對手。也就是B選項說的：讓他們能夠超越對手。
14題，問John認為有創意的人應該怎么樣。答案是第三段：He believes that companies need to learn how to manage their original thinkers in order to ensure that the business profits from their contribution公司應該學會怎樣管理有創意的人，從而確保公司能夠從他們的貢獻中盈利。也就是應該努力使那些有創意的人的才華能夠造福公司。選C：他們應該得到支持，從而為公司做的好。其他幾個選項根本沒有說到點子上，一看就可以pass掉。
15題，Ian關于有創意的人是怎么說的。答案是第四段的最后一句：他們有激情有動力但是卻對商業方向和系統一無所知。選D：缺乏對商業過程的了解。Business direction and systems可以和commercial processes相對應。
16題，問當工作場所出現了有創意的人，會發生什么問題。答案是第五段的這么一句：The original thinkers themselves may be unaware of any problem, but having them around can be disruptive to colleagues。他們自己可能沒有意識到，但是有這樣的人在身邊會對同事們造成麻煩。disruptive是disturbing的意思。
17題，問游戲公司對待有創意的人的方式特別在什么地方。答案是第六段，看公司總監的原話：We encourage our games designers by creating an informal working environment。創造一種非正式的工作環境，也就是C選項說的relaxed atmosphere。這題可能會有人誤選A，那是錯誤的理解了最后一句。最后一句說工作和家庭生活沒有明顯的區別，是說工作時間是彈性的，不代表同意他們隨時隨意在家里工作。
18題，問傳統的機構如果想要雇傭有創意的人需要什么。答案是最后一段的這么一句話：the first step is to check that original thinkers are worth the effort.。第一步是檢測這些有創意的人是否值得所作的這些努力。后面緊接著問了，他們帶來的好處是否值得他們造成的混亂?所以答案是B：評估他們的貢獻能否彌補任何問題。