How To Kill Creativity

Quick Insight

Get a list of ideas from everyone before showing the ideas to the group.

“Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas.” – Keith Sawyer in Explaining Creativity

We have a big decision to make or a strategy to develop. We call a meeting of the company’s owners, employees and/or advisors. We explain the situation and start brainstorming ideas. As the quote above shows, we’ve done this all wrong.

Group discussions limit ideas. People are afraid to raise creative ideas. We want to be accepted by the group and will say things that are safe.

Ask for people to submit ideas before the meeting. Another option is to have everyone write out their ideas in silence during the first minutes of the meeting, submit them anonymously, and have them compiled for the group to review. 

The leader should be very cautious in expressing opinions on ideas. Instead, the leader should always prod the group for people to speak as “devil’s advocate” against ideas that are drawing consensus.

I wish you creativity for the best solutions. I wish you well.

- Rob Stephens

Further Insight

CFO Perspective Resources

  • Video: How To Avoid Business Decision-Making Mistakes - I explain some common business decision-making mistakes and how to overcome them. Learn more about dozens of decision mistakes and how to avoid them in my behavioral finance program.
  • Course: ACE - Strategic Planning for Small Businesses - Small business strategic planning should quickly lead you from defining where you are going to deciding how to get there. Getting there takes a well-built strategy and implementation plan. Get planning and management tools with the basics of how to use them.
  • Course: Behavioral Finance - Overcome your destructive financial impulses by understanding common thinking mistakes. With my Behavioral Finance course, you can avoid these costly financial decision-making mistakes. The course will help you to learn science-backed ideas to make better financial decisions.

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