Smart Critiques. Crazy Creates.


Smart critiques. Crazy creates.

I put that on a slide at a recent conference, but it’s something that’s been rattling around my freshly-shaven and extra shiny bald head for a good while. And here’s what I mean.

Sometimes people are too smart for their own good. They essentially become your resident organizational skeptics. They’re so smart (and I’m not being sarcastic–they’re often really, really smart) that they not only know that every crazy idea won’t work, but also the reasons that idea won’t work.

It’s equal parts magical and mysterious and maddening to watch. Somehow, instantly–with no advance prep–they’re able to call to mind data and studies and a list of other organizations that tried what someone’s suggested and failed. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong at this point, and I’m not saying there’s not value in that sort of thing. Of course there’s value in looking at data, trends, and the track record of others who may have attempted something similar to what you’re discussing.

All I’m saying is that sometimes people are too smart for their own good. Sometimes organizations are too smart for their own good. They’re smart enough to have the good sense not to try stuff. They’re smart enough to know that an idea sounds crazy at first.

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