By Robert A. Eckert from the Harvard Business Review:
When I arrived at Mattel, the company was losing almost a million dollars a day, the bonus pool was empty, and equity awards were underwater. I believed that those challenges were surmountable. On my first day, at a “town hall” gathering in the cafeteria, I said, “I know how this works. We will turn things around, and because I’m the new, outsider CEO, I’ll get a lot of the credit. But I know who’s really going to deserve the thanks—all of you. I appreciate what you’re about to accomplish.”
I had just arrived from Kraft Foods, where I spent the first 23 years of my career. By the time I was chosen to lead the world’s largest toy company, I had experienced every layer of organizational life, starting as an entry-level grunt. And although I worked hard, I also had a lot of help. My parents and teachers influenced me in powerful and positive ways. My 15 different bosses at Kraft all supported, guided, and taught me. (Well, all but one—who, by the way, lasted only a year at the company.) I found myself saying thank you a lot. Yet I’m also a learner by nature, as I expect most readers of this column are. So I learned to say thank you even more, because the effect was obvious.
By Cennydd Bowles from A List Apart:
Childish, inaccurate, bizarre, and condescending? Perhaps—but you can’t just ignore articles like that. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s Seven Rules for Managing Creative People1 has caused some serious ripples. The article sets lofty standards for missing the point, misrepresenting creative industries to the point of infantilization. At its nadir—“Creatives enjoy making simple things complex, rather than vice versa”—it ranks among the most baffling things ever written about creativity.
Commenters have heaped scorn on poor Chamorro-Premuzic, to the extent that I must almost apologize for adding to the criticism. But I’m intrigued by the views that prop up articles like this. Why do these misconceptions about creative work persist in an era of supposed innovative enlightenment?
The premise that underpins this and many similar articles is that creativity is a binary property: some people are blessed (or cursed) with it, others aren’t. This establishes a subtle, unwelcome construct. Creative types are “The Other”: fundamentally irregular people who don’t quite gel with the rest of society (“The Same”). Indeed, what it means to be Same is usually defined in part by not being Other.
While the language of Otherness is sometimes a deliberate tool of oppression, more often it reflects the unthinking bias of the speaker and era. Chamorro-Premuzic’s framing of creative people as The Other is no doubt unintentional. But the archetype is clear nonetheless.