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July 11, 2016

The Balance Factor: Apps to Coordinate Creative Types and Perfectionists

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It takes a lot of different personality types working together to make a successful business, but sometimes it can be difficult to blend diverse thinkers. To a perfectionist, creative types may seem disorganized, while the adventurous, creative person views perfectionists as overly rigid in their approach, unwilling to shift from the established path. These disagreements can cause tension in any team.

If your team is struggling to organize competing personality types, it may be time to skip the personal interventions and insert a technological middleman into the mix. With the right tools at their disposal, creative types and perfectionists can work together in harmony.

Assess Your Overall Strategy

Before you buy into any tech to improve office collaborations, it’s important to think about your overall business strategy and determine the direction you plan take. Are you a flexible planner, a character like penny stock aficionado Timothy Sykes who knows how to research and plan, but also how to shift direction at a moment’s notice when necessary? Or do you approach your business from what Sykes terms a lottery ticket approach – a little bit of guessing and a lot of freeform luck? It’s important to know if you already favor a particular way of thinking as you enter this process.

Most successful business people are planners – being fussy and detail-oriented helps them get so far professionally, and if you fall into this category, you may want to favor apps that will help balance your preferences. In this case, you could pick an app with a heavier creative component because you’ve likely mastered the more organized side of things. If you’re still feeling kind of scattered, however, you’ll want to emphasize organizational tools.

Getting Organized

Once you know how your business is already organized, you can start to choose the tools that will support collaboration between diverse thinkers. One popular option is Evernote, an app with a good few years of success under its belt. With Evernote you can upload an array of file types, organize tasks and items with notebooks and tags, save links, take pictures, and more.

For your compulsive doodlers who take notes better by hand or think out their ideas in sketches, Evernote is also ideal because it pairs with other apps like Penultimate, a writing specific app that can capture handwritten post it notes, and even searches handwriting. The search feature in particular may smooth a few bumps between your creative doodlers and your intense perfectionists.

Chat It Up

Evernote is a great tool for organizing big projects, but it’s not ideal for communication, which raises another question: how does your professional team prefer to communicate? Do they compile their thoughts and send lengthy e-mails or do team members commonly find themselves fielding text messages? If the latter is true, you may need GroupMe.

GroupMe is a group chat application that can help smooth the relationships between creative types and perfectionists, particularly if your creative thinkers send a lot of group e-mails with freeform text with new ideas, while perfectionists use texts primarily for urgent deadlines and pressing project concerns.

With GroupMe, those texts become more like an e-mail thread, allowing readers to cut down on alerts and check messages like they were e-mails. This makes them less of a distraction but still allows people to send short, informal messages.

Come Together Now

Ultimately, these tools can help your perfectionists and your creative thinkers to work together more smoothly, but it will also be worthwhile to find ways to help both groups share their expertise. Consider using a program like StrengthsFinder to assess team members, help them develop their areas of expertise, and identify other personality and skill types that might complement their work habits.

Particularly for perfectionists, a survey of this type that quantifies skills can help to reveal and encourage new areas of growth, and can be especially beneficial when accompanied by great collaboration software.

Ultimately, if you choose to use collaboration apps to help bring your team together, make sure that you also get buy-in from the members before investing in an app. You’ll only drive a deeper wedge between personality types and colleagues by forcing them to use software they don’t like or understand.

Before you can make anyone work together smoothly, you need to work with them to find a comfortable place to start.


Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.