We have all encountered them. The team member who can find flaws in every new idea or suggestion offered. It’s the person who sits at the table during staff meetings and shoots down ideas like skeet shooting from the deck of a cruise ship. They have been successful in their careers and fashion themselves saviors of the universe. I called them hole-finders.
Left unchecked, hole-finders rob teams and organizations of valid ideas which under the right circumstances should be vetted and tested to see how they could work, not fail. Hole-finders, often seen as valuable to organization leaders, also undermine team relations and productivity. When ideas are summarily shot down with little consideration, team members eventually stop offering them leaving the organization at risk for failure, product failure, or reputational damage.
There is a place in the creative process for challenging the validity of an idea but not during ideation. Organizational leaders must be clear; developing new and creative ideas is much more complicated and valuable than pointing out weaknesses. Dr. Wesley Carter, publisher and branding expert at Working Charlotte, states “we are all born with the ability to express displeasure. It’s a gift we all have. But, being able to take an issue or situation and re-conceptualize it; or to leap to a completely new way of viewing the situation, that is real skill”.
We would all do well to re-conceptualize how we approach creativity in the workplace. The ability to morph with the changing business climate and transform organizations will distinguish the phoenix from the dinosaur – the fire that fashions and strengthens or the fire that destroys.
Renae Sanders is the Managing Director at KRS Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational relationships. Believing people are the link between strategy and success, Renae works with organizations, leaders, and managers to strengthen internal relationships. You can reach her at email@example.com.