Statistics as another way of stifling creativity

For some odd reason, I accidentally stumbled across a comment here on my blog from more than 2 years ago. Beyond the point regarding Scientology, Charles Bourke Wildbank made an excellent point about the retrospective nature of using statistics in business. While history and statistics do have their valuable uses, they can also stifle creativity. Interesting accidental dig, methinks :-)

When I did art for Scientology many years ago, there was an enormous amount of micromanaging and stifling of creativity. I just said, “I’ve had it!” The problem with statistic hounding is that they are based upon YESTERDAY and OLD STUFF DONE, yet they wish to REPEAT those actions. That is NOT CREATIVITY. Every artist on staff I have known no longer work for Scientology today. Small wonder. We want pioneers and all artists are of the pioneering sort. There are others who pretend to be artists and paint “tradition”. That is their choice. It allows them to brush up more skill until they are ready to make that LEAP.

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Grasp the moment with love

Touching your heart, your soul, your life
His inquiring eyes exploring yours
Taking hold of your breath, your self
The gentle feeling of a teardrop, but of course

He is new to this world, to yours
Which will never be the same again
Your futures will forever run a different course
When you end yours and his goes on – this will be then

Sad in a way as the moment evaporates
But most precious as you fully grasp
The richness of emotions, value, of what it creates
The change, the love, flowing past

My life in the moment

Trying my best, and increasingly better, to live in the here and now with no shame, blame or regret. Working hard to do only fun things and learning to like and then to love those things I have a hard time enjoying. Hunting and shooting down my preconceived ideas and lazy classifications – especially regarding others. Eradicating expectations and planning less every day. Letting go of the past and leaving tomorrow to come, but doing what I can to improve now and what comes. But above all enjoying the moment. Chillaxing.

So what?

After a long discussion on the blog post titeled “Your Life“, one of the contributors (katageek) came up with a much better angle than “Fuck It” or even “letting go”:

I suggest “So What?” over “Fuck it!” When it comes to kids. For two reasons:

1. “So what?” can trump any “That’s What.”

and …

2. It’s not bastardizing sex, the coolest thing in life!

EXAMPLE FROM HISTORY:

GENGHIS KHAN: “I’ve conquered your people and slaughtered them.

TRIBAL LEADER: “Yeah, so what?”

GENGHIS KHAN: “SO WHAT? SO … WHAT? … I’ve conquered your people and killed them all but the finest women. Here is your wife. Watch as I, Genghis Khan rape and impregnate her at the height of her fertility as you watch. And then I will kill you in front of her THAT’S WHAT!”

TRIBAL LEADER: “Yeah, so WHAT? It’s been done before. Nothing new here.”

*****

CONCLUSION: There is no “That’s what” that cannot be trumped by a “So what?” And by saying “Fuck it” to Genghis Khan, you are submitting to him cuz “fuck it” was what he was going to do.

Remember, 1 in every 200 people is descended from Genghis Khan.

But … So what?

I’d say this is a better angle for everyone, not just for kids.

The ingenious angle here is that “So what?” is a question. It encompasses both “fuck it” and “letting go” and directs the person to what comes next. It inspires the person to letting go and to look for solutions in a subtle way.

Now this provides an excellent example as to why I blog. You guys help shape my views. Melike.

A very different interview

I haven’t read your application. Or your CV. In fact, I know nothing about you except your name. Right now you are a blank sheet of paper. Let’s start the interview“.

Katarina looked befuddled. This wasn’t exactly the start she expected. As I got back from the counter with something to drink for us both, the surprise on her face had worn off. She was ready.

I made her focus on the actual results she had achieved in her professional and personal life. I looked for relevant accomplishments. Real value generation. Measurable return. Where she had made a real difference.

And she responded like I have rarely seen. A string of great accomplishments. Amazing results. This girl could really deliver.

Out of the 6000+ interviews I have done, this was by far the best. No tools in the way, no school grades ramping up any preconceptions, no personality test scores, no spell-checked application or CV based on “marked standards”. Just Katarina.

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Personality tests and recruitment

Personality tests are frequently used as a tool in recruitment. There are pros and cons to using such tests.

I was the CEO of U-MAN in Norway from 1990 till 2000. The company’s main product was selling the Oxford Capacity Analysis as a tool in recruitment for our clients. The OCA test is controversial because it is used by the Church of Scientology and licensed from the Church of Spiritual Technology and 6% of the income from test sales is funneled to the Church of Scientology conglomerate. U-MAN, a WISE company, has later changed its name to Performia. The company has moved its testing online like so many other companies selling personality tests, IQ tests etc.

While I go into greater details regarding both WISE, U-MAN and the OCA test in my book “Nittenåttifire“, I would like to accentuate a few points here.

The OCA test is originally a fork of the Johnson Temperament Analysis (now the T-JTA). Before 1954, Hubbard used many different personality tests to validate changes and progress people had with Scientology therapies. Julia Salmen, an employee of the Church of Scientology in LA was asked by L. Ron Hubbard to come up with a personality test that would be free for Scientology to use. She started out with the JTA and added one personality trait (Certain – Uncertain) – a smart improvement as it enhanced the value of the JTA by adding an internal consistency check of sorts. The OCA test has 10 personality traits with 20 questions determining each trait (the JTA has 180 questions and 9 traits). It may be doubtful that this change actually constitute enough “new work” to void any copyright claims of the JTA.

While the JTA (and OCA) was designed as a general personality test, such tests are also frequently used as a complimentary tool in job interviews. But there is a liability in such use. A similar liability is evident when the employer relies on school grades when recruiting for a position.

When an interviewer has a candidate in front of him, her grades from school and a personality test result with scores and a nice graph, he tends to overemphasize the grades and the test results. Because it has numeric values. The numbers tend to eclipse his own observations. The candidate fades to the background while the grades and scores grabs attention. I know this both from my own recruitment processes and from watching other interviewers. I did more than 6000 test evaluations/interviews, I supervised hundreds of interviews done by others. Whenever there is a test score on the table, it takes center stage.

The OCA test is a really good test. But personality is seldom the main factor in job performance. We would often be surprised when we tested a team of people only to find out that the top performer had the worst test for the job. He could be completely unstructured, irresponsible in life, a nervous wreck and even shy. Still he was the best sales person in the company. When we focused only on selling and evaluating OCA tests, we recommended the wrong candidate for the job maybe 20-30% of the time. As we improved our recruitment services, adding tests for competence, structured interviews, better reference checking, etc. we managed to get as high as 97,4% success rate (checked with the client 18 months after placement). But – and here comes the big BUT – I am sure we missed some fantastic candidates in the process. The most amazing people have quirks, eccentricities. Some are even raving mad by normal standards.

One should be cognizant of the tools one uses. One should master the tools and never let the tools take center stage. People should be the focus of attention.

For what it’s worth, I leave you with a book I wrote while I worked in U-MAN – The Evaluator’s Bible.

In the next blog post, I will relate a recent story of a very different interview I had with an amazing person.