In today’s ever-changing, highly competitive technology marketplace, many CEO’s find themselves laying in bed at night worried about how to keep up. Caterina Fake, the founder of Flickr and Findery, calls this “FOMO” or the fear of missing out. She brings up an interesting solution in her video “How to Balance Creativity and Productivity” to help companies stay on track. What is it? Peanut Butter and Jelly. And no she isn’t suggesting to eat one. She is suggesting you build your team as if it were like the sandwich as too much of either ingredient doesn’t make for the best result.
The employees who are the peanut butter are your extremely innovative, spontaneous; don’t like a plan type of people. That’s great, but sometimes they have such great ideas and no structure to execute them. Then you have your jelly. These are your planners, the task oriented, must get everything done ahead of time but may be too busy executing and miss a great opportunity type of people. Both of these are needed in a company, but there needs to be a balance. Without, you will be spread too thin.
So what does this all come back to? HIRING. This concept should be in the back of your head when hiring top talent for your company. Yes, in the perfect world you would find a candidate who is the perfect balance of PB&J, but in the real world it typically isn’t so balanced. So it is your job to make sure you can create that balance within your teams.
Because the technology world is evolving so quickly, companies are focused on hiring the most innovative and imaginative employees so they can keep up in the turbulent digital landscape. Of course, this is great and needed, but needs to be balanced with employees who can then execute the great ideas of these employees. Without the balance, you just have one disappointing sandwich. Fake puts it in her closing statement, “Mastering the world by being productive AND creative is the only way forward.” So take a look at your team, do you have enough jelly to compliment the peanut butter’s, and vice versa? If not, you may need to remake your sandwich.