4th August 2016

Can Messy-Desk-Doodling-Conceptual-Creative Also be a Productivity Style?

Work truth: Your productivity style is unique. But, how unique is unique?

Over the last several weeks, we’ve explored three of the four unique and personal productivity styles from The Prioritizer to The Planner to The Arranger.

But, where’s the comic-book-reading, notepad doodler, messy desk, dreaming, artistic, conceptual creative belong? Is that unique approach also a productivity style?

It is. And it’s pretty cool – for a couple different reasons.

That individual is most likely a Visualizer. And his or her Visualizer productivity style fills a creative and/or conceptual void that a lot of Prioritizers, Planners, and Arrangers simply cannot access fully. (Not because anything is wrong with them – but because their brains are wired differently.)

So, here’s why you should appreciate that Visualizer style:

A Visualizer prefers holistic, intuitive, integrating, and synthesizing thinking. He or she sees the big picture and has the ability to work very quickly. A Visualizer adroitly manages and juggles multiple tasks and projects. A Visualizer is also able to synthesize disparate ideas into a cohesive whole, generating creative, innovative project ideas. A Visualizer thinks strategically about projects, effectively managing multiple ideas simultaneously while being efficient in task execution. A Visualizer maintains visual lists, often using color.

Visualizers thrive with:

· Open mindedness

· Ability to see the big picture, recognizing new opportunities and integrating ideas and concepts

· Innovation; willingness to challenge the status quo

· Creative problem solving

Visualizers loathe:

· Repetition, slow pace

· Rigid, highly structured project plans with no flexibility

· Excessive detail; too many numbers

· Being told “You can’t” or “We’ve always done it this way”

Visualizers love:

· Spending minimal time on details

· Broad conceptual frameworks

· Connections to other approaches

Famous Visualizers: Scientist Albert Einstein, artists Pablo Picasso and Leonardo di Vinci, entrepreneurs Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Larry Page

Classic Quote: “Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”—Playwright George Bernard Shaw.

How Visualizers Will Communicate: A Visualizer uses visual language when speaking—words and phrases like see, look, envision, imagine, and the big picture. They typically speak in abstract phrases and frequently use metaphors. They also tend to ask general, broad-based questions about concepts and innovative aspects of a particular task or project.

A Visualizer prefers to have information presented using metaphors or visual aids that place specific details within a big-picture overview or conceptual framework, often aligned to the organization’s long-term strategy. Visualizers value the flexibility to move away from a planned agenda in search of new, fun, and imaginative approaches. Visualizers typically ask “Why” questions: “Why is this process better?” “Why do we do things this way?”

A Visualizer will react spontaneously to feedback and prefers concepts.

How Visualizers use space: A Visualizer’s office environment and personal work space is typically informal, casual, and non-traditional, with an emphasis on space and light and a decorative scheme that is typically colorful, varied, and aesthetically pleasing. A Visualizer prefers original art and playful objects and toys. The space is typically cluttered with piles of paper, personal memorabilia, and collectables.

How Visualizers make decisions: Visualizers make decisions by inventing imaginative, intuitive solutions to problems. They are perceptive and skilled at reading signs of coming change, which sometimes leads them to challenge established policies. They tend to recognize and seek out new possibilities, embrace ambiguity, and integrate ideas and concepts that others may consider incompatible or unrelated.

The productivity tools Visualizers gravitate towards: Productivity tools that appeal to Visualizers include digital white board apps, Sketchbook Pro (an app that lets them capture ideas while working with a complete set of sketching and painting tools), iThoughts HD (a digital mind-mapping tool), Concur (an app used to photograph and save expense receipts and create expense reports), and Noteshelf (a digital notebook tool). They also love visually vibrant low-tech tools—multicolored Post-It notes, colored folders, notebooks with unlined pages, pens in a variety of ink colors, large white boards, baskets, folders, and bags and clipboards for keeping papers visible and organized. A classic Visualizer would enjoy nothing more than an afternoon in an art supply store with an unlimited budget to spend!

Does Visualizer sound like you – or someone you work with, mentor, or coach?