A few years ago, Kevin Murnane, Adjunct Professor and lecturer at Northwestern University and a good and thoughtful friend — sent me article with the provocative title of Thought Catalysts: Prima Donnas or Prime Movers.
Written by Cathy Higgins and Dave Kreischer in their excellent “The Straight Talk Coach” Series, it deftly explores the personality of the Thought Catalyst — an individual who can add creative fuel to an organization while burning everyone else out.
So here’s your personality test:
Are you a creative thinker who advocates unique solutions to every problem?
Do you thrive on competitive brainstorming?
Are you frequently frustrated by others’ resistance to your ideas?
Do you excel at clarifying strategic options?
Is being distinctive one of your most prized attributes?
Have you found it difficult t fit the mold at most places you have worked?
If you answered yes to at least four of the above questions, you are probably a thought catalyst. I got an A+.
The article is available online. In many ways the thought catalyst fits what I call a disruptor. They love bringing in new ideas to a community, often disrupting the ability of the majority to get work done.
And the way most companies are organized, the role of the disruptor is frustrating to both sides. No one listens to the thought catalyst.
A 21st century organization, on the other hand, knows how to harness disruptors so that their catalytic thoughts can propel the organization forward.
Because that is where real innovation often comes from – properly using those with catalytic ideas and perspectives.
Most organizations simply toss the thought leaders to the curb because of their disruptions.