This article in the New York Times argues something that I have discovered for myself over the past years: working on your own boosts creativity. I think that 50% of the reason why I can be more effective at designing presentations than clients who hire me is my work environment that allows me to focus without noise and distractions. I explain this every time when people get frustrated why it is so hard to get me to answer the phone or why I take some time to respond to voice mail messages.

Why? Design is a process that requires you to be able to finish a line of thought without interruption. To sketch things. To go back and forth over things at your own pace.  To put your feet up the table. To listen to some music. All things that are hard to do in a conference room.

During my career as a management consultant, I was always surprised that competing firms can make a living as pure process facilitators without getting into the substance. They would get everyone in a room, put up a flip chart, and argued that is enough to get the problem solved.

All of this seems to go against the current trend of collaboration and team work. It does not. Collaboration is not sitting all day in a meeting that goes nowhere. Collaboration is splitting up responsibilities, do the work, discuss, and iterate. Collaboration is not talking, it is doing.

Some more reading material that might help you understand introverted people in a world dominated by extroverts better:

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