Home Concepts Adult Development Generativity Two: Expanding Perspective and Actions about Deep Care

Generativity Two: Expanding Perspective and Actions about Deep Care

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Generativity as Innovation/Creativity

On an everyday basis we make use of the term “generate” when speaking of the creation of new ideas, slogans, logos and many other types of thought and image being created. We conduct “thought experiments” and do “brainstorming” in order to generate many new and “off-the-wall” suggestions for an advertising campaign, new use for a wrench, or ways to get that young kid living on the street into a safe environment. Sometimes, we even label someone a “generative” thinker.

There is an essay from the Sloan Management Review that makes use of this first definition of generativity. Jeanne Liedrka and her colleague (Liedrka, et al., 1997) are interested in the “generative cycle” used by knowledge-based organizations, which are often professional firms. The authors identify this cycle as consisting of collaborative learning among employees in an agency and the clients that they serve. They see business development and individual professional development as being intimately linked. For this collaborative work to be successful, an agency must hire and retain people who have analytic talent to do technical work, relationship skills to build and sustain the collaboration through a combination of interpersonal skills and personal qualities of integrity and respect, and entrepreneurial instincts to drive the business development and organization-building work.

We believe the ingredients which are required to create a generativity cycle are also perquisites for a person to be successful in the role of Generativity Two. In building the competencies and confidence of those with whom a leader is working, it is essential that many things be known in-depth about the system in which the leader and his or her colleagues operate. That requires experience in this system and a deep understanding of how it actually operates. Leaders also must be able to build a strong collaborative relationship with their co-workers. This requires the relational skills identified by Liedrka—a combination of interpersonal skills (emotional IQ), personal integrity, and respect (appreciation) for these colleagues. Finally, the leader needs to be driven to achieve success for the organization, and not just for themselves. The entrepreneurial instinct identified by Lierka seems to be right on target.

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