Longstanding Issue Rears Its Head Again

Got a good manuscript to review. Then I looked a little closer. It says we should start out (a project, presumably) by “focusing,” then get “creative.” I absolutely, positively disagree. The “focusing” effort is the ultimate in the creative process!

In my 1999 Wow Projects 50 book, I devoted 22 of 50 propositions (the biggest section by far) to Framing Issues. When I start on something/anything, I resist focusing with all my heart and soul! At the beginning, regardless of what the Client (for a Speech, Consulting Engagement) asked for, I talk sweet, but ignore it in practice. I need to burrow into the situation, do my research, talk to a million people from inside and outside, etc., etc., etc. (et etcetera). Only then can I even do a First Approximation of “focus.” In fact, some of my best work, especially speeches, has come when I chuck the whole thing “as planned” 20 minutes before going on stage, or even reverse course after I’ve started. I can’t figure out the punch line until the third quarter of the game, more or less.

Begin by “focusing” on the “goal”? Not on your (my, that is) life!


Tom Peters posted this on August 8, 2005, in Strategies.
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