Got creativity in the workplace? Well, here are 20 ways to nip it.
If the idea of having a bunch of creative thinkers running around the office has you shaking in your Florsheims, this article will show you ways to get rid of it before it can take root and help grow your company into the powerhouse it was meant to be. A humorous look at the "don'ts" of creativity, designed to give you a laugh and a few tips on how to nurture creativity in the workplace.
And while many companies are encouraging creativity in the workplace because they know it will have a positive long-term effect on their bottom lines, other companies are simply tightening their belts and asking employees to work longer and harder than ever.
If you subscribe to the latter philosophy, then here are 20 surefire ways you can douse that pesky creative revolution once and for all.
1. Whenever a creative thinker offers an innovative idea, look at them like you smell dog poo. This will signal to everyone how much you value creativity in the workplace, and should go a long way toward eliminating it altogether. In fact, be sure to belittle anyone who looks even slightly artistic. They might give your company a reputation for diversity and creativity.
2. Reward sameness. Hire people with the right "look" who will impress clients with their excellent choice of suits and ties (or pantsuits), the whiteness of their shirts, and their MBAs. Clients may think you're as boring as heck after awhile, but at least they won't think you're different from the rest of the suits.
3. Never think outside the box. It's much, much safer inside where it's nice and warm. Of course, you'll have to be prepared to grow your company very slowly (if at all) and watch other more innovative companies pass you by.
4. Never, ever encourage curiosity or questions! This may lead to innovation (see #3).
5. Along the same lines, always discourage play. Play leads to having fun, and having fun will make people enjoy coming to work. And who knows where that might lead! Perhaps to more creativity in the workplace.
6. Maintain a "your-butt-is-mine-if-this-doesn't-work" mentality. This absolutely ensures that your people will keep their heads down and just do their jobs.
7. Have lots of unnecessary meetings with strict agendas and lots of charts and graphs. If the agenda doesn't discourage discussion, then the charts and graphs should confuse everyone into silence.
8. Above all, never hold a brainstorming session! These are notorious for producing creative ideas and encouraging creativity in the workplace!
9. If anyone in your organization suggests a retreat or any team-building activities, tell them in no uncertain terms to pack up and get out. These foster camaraderie and increase our comfort levels with each other, which set the stage for creative thinking.
10. Install rows and rows of cubicles that all look the same, and don't let your people personalize them with pictures or toys.
11. Do not attend (or cause anyone to attend) any creative thinking seminars, or read any books on creativity, creativity in the workplace, or creative problem solving. In fact, fire on the spot anyone who even suggests this!
12. Promote your yes-people and make sure everyone knows about their expense accounts, company cars, and platinum credit cards. At the same time, be sure to let your creative thinkers know that when they choose to play the game they, too, will be rewarded.
13. Resist change - any change - and make sure everyone around you does the same.
14. Never trust anyone's gut instincts...especially not your own. Always insist instincts be backed up with months of research, focus group findings, and surveys. If you catch anyone reading, or talking about reading, the book Blink, dismiss or publicly humiliate them.
15. Make sure everyone is at their desks working by 8 a.m. every morning, regardless of how late they worked the night before. Being sympathetic and flexible when your people are pulling late shifts will only encourage alertness, which may once again lead to creativity in the workplace.
16. Send threatening emails to your most creative people promising bodily injury or dismissal should they infect other employees with their nonsense.
17. If you discover you've mistakenly hired any risk takers, be sure to either beat it out of them by sending them to a time management seminar, or fire them immediately. Do not let this risk-taking behavior take root in your company, as it will inevitably lead to innovation, which in turn will lead to greater profitability.
18. If anyone tries something risky or creative and fails, be sure to remind them over and over that you told them so, and make them an example to the rest of the company. Never mind that learning from failure ultimately leads to success, and that the biggest success stories result from the biggest failures (remember Edison and the light bulb?).
19. Strongly discourage competitive analysis, or best-in-class research, as this will lead to curiosity and questioning, and perhaps even...shudder...creativity in the workplace.
20. And if anyone ever comes at you with an idea that could remotely be construed as creative, be sure to tell him/her the idea is stupid. Preferably in front of a crowd of their co-workers.
So, there you have it...20 simple things you can do to guarantee any creativity in the workplace is beaten to a pulp before it has time to take root and grow.
After all, you wouldn't want to have to deal with all those messy profits, now, would you?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donna Williams is the founder and creator of BusinessBurrito.com - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential. She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses. To read more of her articles, or to sign up for her free e-newsletter, visit her website at www.businessburrito.com