Creativity Slams to a Stop

Many of the places I teach think they want creative solutions managed by creative people. Often that thought doesn’t get out of the Inbox, much less out the door. Why not?  If you are a creative leader, worker, or thinker,  maybe these 10 reasons sound familiar:

  1. “We’ve always done it this way, there is no reason to change.”
  2. “The boss doesn’t like change. It’s upsetting.”
  3. “Why stir up trouble? Things are OK now.”
  4. “Just get this assignment done, then we’ll talk.”
  5. “The director sets the way we get things done. And your idea is not it.”
  6. “Your idea will require too much [time, energy, money, people]”
  7. “Who died and made you CEO?”
  8. “How do you know this will work? Doesn’t look like it to me.”
  9. “Let me play devil’s advocate for a minute. . . “
  10. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

You’ve heard these at work, but how many of them have you believed?  How many of them have you said? Change causes upheaval as it works.

from Biocultural Science and Management,

from Biocultural Science and Management,

There is the enthusiasm stage, where the idea sounds good. Then there is the work stage, where all your co-workers redefine “collaboration” into “if it fails, it’s your fault.”

That’s the liminal stage–where the work is started, but not finished. The change is happening, but you can’t quite see it working.  The eggs are broken, the omelet isn’t shaping up yet.

The liminal stage is a time that has to happen, but it is the time of most resistance. Focus on that part–on pushing through. It will test your creativity fully. If you give up, a part of your creativity will wither away. This is the time to call on your Inner Hero to be an advocate. Your Inner Critic already has everyone else at the office.

How will you stand up for your creativity today?

—Quinn McDonald has been listening to Baba O’Reilly again.