Friday, July 17, 2009

4 signs of negative indoctrination and blocks to innovation

“I know I’m right and I’m not going to allow any contrary discussions about it.”

Ever hear a team leader express that thought – explicitly or implicitly? Have YOU ever expressed it? Felt it? And when it’s expressed, what message is the listener getting? Probably this, “Adopt our thinking without question or get off the team.”

Back on June 26, I blogged about the often-used phrase “Drink the Kool-Aid,” which means to buy the company line or to enthusiastically perform a task without knowing how it may affect you.

While the phrase is used so much in jest, let’s not forget how it can stifle creativity and innovation. Or worse, how it can be a sign of a real leadership problem.

The Power of Story author Jim Loehr writes to watch for these signs of negative indoctrination:
  1. Increasing intolerance for beliefs and values that don’t absolutely align with yours;
  2. Increasing rigidity and inflexibility in thinking and action;
  3. Increasing use of fear and threat of retribution if what you say is not acted on or taken seriously; and
  4. Increasing inability to see value in opposing points of view.
Learn more about Jim’s book on the Stinson Brand Innovation reference library page.

The examples above can just as easily by applied, of course, to life outside the boardroom and workplace. Fanatical thought and coercive behavior have no place as we seek to expand our creative lives – in the classroom, the office, the chapel, the lab, or the home.

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