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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.
04/03 Creativity Comment
in "Dead Wood"
Too many managers claim that what's limiting their group’s
creativity is the “dead wood” they are stuck with. Sometimes dead wood is a large proportion of the group.
Typically, these are older workers who competently perform
assigned tasks, but whose minds are more on what to do in their
upcoming retirement than on how to help the organization.
Also, they are among the more cynical employees—and have
reason to be cynical.
In most cases, this dead wood is ignored in any effort to
stimulate creativity and innovation.
That’s too bad. Older
workers have valuable experience and valuable insights. Possibly, they have had some really great ideas that were
knocked down in the past. Or
maybe they were afraid to even voice these ideas.
So, should we give up on extracting creativity from dead
wood? Not if you
really value the power of creativity to drive innovation and
ought to be a potential contributor of great ideas.
What will it take to stimulate the creative juices of the
dead wood? Simple, acknowledge
their long and valuable experience, challenge them to make
(and pursue) creative contributions, and acknowledge these
them to finish their careers as a spark instead of a dying ember.
Who wouldn’t like to feel good about having an impact?
Who wouldn’t feel good about coming up with a better idea
than those proposed by the younger crowd?
What a great retirement treat!
It’s so important to stimulate enthusiasm for work goals in
each employee. I’ve
witnessed groups in which a new, or newly inspired, manager was
able to instill the creative spark in staff long considered dead