The Creative Consultant’s Toolbox

As a creative consultant, I believe innovative strategies derived out of sense making concepts can be used to help organizations develop the skills that they need to be effective, competitive and relevant to the current economy.

A few lessons learned from the Mann Gulch disaster are “four potential sources of resilience that make groups less vulnerable to disruptions of sense making are proposed to forestall disintegration, including improvisation, virtual role systems, the attitude of wisdom, and norms of respectful interaction” (Weick, 1993).

These same principles can be applied to modern business culture to give companies the tools they need to be successful. Three of these tools are: designing and executing an effective social media/online strategy (respectful interaction), comprising an exceptional core team (virtual role systems), and staying ahead by carefully observing trends (improvisation and attitude of wisdom).

A superior online strategy will include social media designed to connect and engage with prospective clients and retain current ones. There is no relevance today without an online presence. According to the Pew Research Center, 10 years ago on 7% of the US population used one or more social networking sites. Now that figure has increased almost tenfold, to 65%. Of those who use the internet a massive majority of 76% of American’s use social media (2017). Socialization is one of the seven properties of Weick’s model of retrospective sense making (Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey, 2014, p. 112).

The next tool that companies will need is the ability to comprise a core team. According to a recent Entrepreneur article (Nguyen, 2015), Eric Paley suggests hiring a core team of “A” players and then surround them with “B” players with very few “C” players. He describes “A” players as “workers who can not only read the book but can write it, too” (these are idea people); while “B” players are workers who will do their jobs reasonably well with little motivation; while “C” players are employees who need a lot of coaching on how to do their jobs well.

Finally, innovative companies need to stay abreast of the trends. This is similar to Weick’s concept of the enacted environment: “one of the most critical but often overlooked keys to organizational success involves keeping in touch with current issues” (Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey, 2014, p. 111). Observing trends heightens the company’s  ability to “predict” or foresee future problems and create a solution (Nguyen, 2015). These three tools are imperative for the success of an innovative company.


Chaffey, D. (2017, April).  Global social media research summary 2017. Smart Insights. (2017, April). Retrieved from:

Eisenberg, E.M., Godall, H.L. Jr. & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint. 7th Ed. New York, NY: Bedford/St.Martin’s.

Nguyen, T. 10 Traits of the Most Innovative Entrepreneurs. (2015, October). Entrepreneur. Retrieved from:

Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Weick, K. E. (1993). The collapse of Sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38(4), 628. Retrieved from

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