There are three major barriers to individuals not exercising their innate ability to be creative and innovative...
Barrier #1 – Fear of Failure
This one drives the other two and by itself is a creativity killer. The bigger discussion is identifying the true source of this fear. Is it pride? Is it job security? Is it past experiences? Is it simply saving face? More than likely it is a combination of all. However, the truth is, that if you overcome these issues, you will surprise yourself by your creative output!
Barrier #2 – Not My Job
The lack of personal responsibility rears its ugly head everywhere, especially in leadership circles. Many positional leaders lifted to their current status because of a cocktail of taking responsibility (more than likely on things that no one else wanted to do) and of dodging personal responsibility (in order to protect what they have built – career, project, friendship, etc.). It is amazing what gets created that wasn’t there before simply because someone, somewhere said, “That’s not my job, but I will take care of it.”
Barrier #3 – I’m Not Creative
There is a great keynote that was delivered at TED by Sir Ken Robinson [Download video here] last year about the dynamic in America’s school where the system is basically built to serve the student from the neck up and slightly to the right. This is to say that it shouldn’t be a surprise when your people (or you) are not used to being creative or have a self-perception of not being creative. Ever since early in our youth, we have been taught to color in the lines, memorize the correct answers, sit still, etc. All of which are important for creating clones and all of which are horrible at creating creativity.