The Anti-Creativity Checklist

Below is “The Anti-Creativty Checklist” from Youngme Moon, author of  Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd. It appeared in the Monday Morning Memo by Roy H. Williams. Definitely worth sharing.

1.     Play it safe
Listen to that inner voice. “Why should I stick my neck out?” “I’m not going to go out on a limb…” “Safer to let someone else champion that.”

2.     Know your limitations: Don’t be afraid to pigeonhole yourself. 
“I’m not an artist.” “I’m not creative.” “I’m not an innovator.”

3.     Remind yourself: It’s just a job.
“I don’t get paid to come up with ideas.” “I’m keeping my mouth shut.” “There’s nothing in it for me.” “When’s lunch?”

4.     Show you’re the smartest guy in the room: Make Skepticism your middle name.
“Here’s why that idea won’t work.” “You won’t be able to execute on that.” “Our organization’s not set up for that.”

5.     Be the tough guy: Demand to see the data.
“What does the market research say?” “There’s no evidence it’s going to work.” “That didn’t come out of the focus group.” “Show me the spreadsheet.”

6.     Respect history: Always give the past the benefit of the doubt.
“We’ve always done it this way.” “If it’s such a good idea, why hasn’t anyone thought of it yet?” “That wasn’t part of the original plan.”

7.     Stop the madness before it can get started: Crush early-stage ideas with your business savvy.
“You haven’t made the business case.” “I don’t buy your assumptions.” “There’s no immediate R.O.I.”

8.     Been there, done that: Use experience as a weapon.
“We tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work.” “You haven’t been around long enough to know how things work.” “Let’s not reinvent the wheel, guys.”

9.     Keep your eyes closed. Your mind, too.
“The world isn’t changing. The media just wants us to think it is.” “I refuse to get caught up in all these technology fads.” “Don’t tell me how to run my business.”

10.  Assume there is no problem.
“It was a tough year, but we can blame the economy.” “We think next quarter we’ll see a rebound.” “We’re doing okay.”

11.  Underestimate your customers.
“Our customers aren’t going anywhere.” “They’re not ready for that.” “That’s not what they’re asking for.”

12.  Be a mentor: Give sound advice to the people who work for you.
“Just keep your head down and do your job.” “I got where I am by not rocking the boat.” “Choose your battles, kid. This isn’t one of them.”

13.  Be suspicious of the “Creatives” in your organization: the liberal arts majors, the poets, the anthropologists and other wackos.
“Those guys don’t understand business.” “I can’t believe we’re keeping them on the payroll.” “Who invited them to this meeting?”

14.  When all else fails, act like a grown-up.
“I really don’t have time for this.” “Do you have an appointment?” “Back to work, everyone.”

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