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How to Kill Creativity

How to Kill Creativity

Here are the 3 C’s of Killing Creativity.

1.  Control.

John Maxwell says that if someone else can do it 80% as good as you, then let it go.  The problem with that is often times they end up doing it 80% as good as you…and you want everything at 100%.  But control is only a short term solution to a long term problem.  Want to see creativity in your culture?  Empower others and get out of the way.  They will fail [just as you did and still do unless you sell out] but they will often times surprise you.  A leader’s greatest joy is also their oddest sorrow:  watching someone you invested in do your job better than you.

2.  Command.

Want to kill creativity?  Boss people around.  Most people don’t want to be given an idea, they want to be given a problem and then let them come up with ideas to solve it.  Too many times our leadership takes the form of an introverted Moses.  We go up to a Mountain [aka our offices or prayer closets or whatever] and have our ‘God’ experience and then come down from on high and tell the little people what we’re going to do.  This form of leadership works in one of 2 situations.  1) If your followers can’t come up with good ideas on their own, which sometimes happens.  2) You could sell ice to Eskimos.   But short of leading cattle instead of human beings or being the reincarnation of Jerry McGuire, leave the bossing for times of crisis, not creativity.

3.  Collaborate.

I work a lot on college campuses in various capacities and I hear this one a lot:  if we work together we could accomplish so much more.  And to this I reply with a resounding MAYBE!  Sometimes the worst thing you could do is partner with other people.  Sometimes 10 groups can raise more money than one big group.  Especially when the 10 groups all have the same level of leadership among them and have different networks that they’re trying to serve.  Sometimes if you partner together, you’ll loose half of the networks because they don’t want to ‘work’ with you, they want to lead.  Strange as it may seem:  big, collaborative events often times utilize less creative horsepower.  So when someone wants to collaborate, ask these questions:  are they looking for greater control?  More people to command?  Or more creativity to be unleashed?

Feel free to add to the list.  What are some other things that kill creativity?

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