Book Notes: Creativity, Inc. (Part 1)

I’m about a third of the way through this book, which has tons of gems on successful management and personal growth. Here are some of my favorite ideas from what I’ve read so far.

Managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them.

People are talented; they want to do their best work and contribute to the success of the company. Managers should do everything in their power to facilitate this: they should clear roadblocks and address causes for fear without delay. Rather than keeping people from talking to each other, they should actively encourage direct communication between team members. They should willingly hire people that seem smarter than themselves, because,

Getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right.

In fact,

Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.

Our primary goal in whatever we do must be quality, not efficiency. And we shouldn’t toot our own horn.

Excellence must be an earned word, attributed by others to us, not proclaimed by us about ourselves.

And remember, just because you have a good idea, or a bad idea,

You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.

Why is this important to remember? Because you will have bad ideas, and your team members (including any subordinates) have a responsibility to be forthright about this. They need to know that when they tell you your idea is terrible, that you won’t blow up at them, or quietly sulk, but simply be happy that you have avoided a bad decision together.

So what sort of people should we surround ourselves with?

Draft into service those around you who exhibit the right mixture of intelligence, insight, and grace. The people you choose must (a) make you think smarter and (b) put lots of solutions on the table in a short amount of time.

And,

Seek people who are willing to level with you and when you find them, hold them close.

Miscellany

Okay, those flowed together really well. Here are a few other points I appreciated.

You don’t have to ask permission to take responsibility.

In fact, I’d say taking responsibility demonstrates you can be entrusted with responsibility.

What these forces are that make people do dumb things, they are powerful, they are often invisible, and they lurk even in the best of environments.

Coupled with that,

The good stuff was hiding the bad stuff. When downsides coexist with upsides, as they often do, people are reluctant to explore what’s bugging them, for fear of being labeled complainers. This kind of thing, if left unaddressed could fester and destroy.

Just because things are peachy, or mostly peachy, doesn’t mean we should ignore the bad. We have to be alert to tear it out before it’s overwhelming and the whole thing must be thrown out. Rather than feeling like a complainer, we should be focused on improvement; offering specific solutions can help alleviate the perception of complaining others might have.