Yesterday, I told you that I’m going to cover the four components of a great company culture. Those components are creativity, collaboration, curation and continuity.
First up? Creativity.
I’m not talking about the kind of creativity energy that emanates from a bunch of knowledge workers — under the age of 30 — sitting in a room and talking about video games.
(Those workers are imaginary, by the way. They wouldn’t be in a room talking about video games. They would be wearing headphones and playing those games.)
I’m talking about creativity that hits you in the face and expects you to apologize for being in the way.
Great cultures are driven by artists who are on a relentless search for truth and beauty. The best artists are both selfish and selfless, seeking to satisfy an internal desire for excellence while simultaneously believing that their quest will benefit all of humanity.
And, by the way, those artists come in all shapes, sizes and ages. They’re not just Gen Z interns, born after 1995, with poor posture and acne.
Creativity is subversive, coarse and shocking. Creativity is enmeshed with contradictions and complications. Creativity is authentic and abrasive. Creative people can be reasonable and charming; however, bold and original thinking often starts from a place of discomfort and despair.
You don’t have time for creativity.
You don’t even want your employees to make eye contact. You want them to communicate on Slack so you can document it.
Creativity eats up organizational time and patience. Creativity kills systems required to sustain capitalism. Your company is up against release dates and timetables. You have to ship widgets and chunks of products. I don’t know any CEO or HR leader who has time for artistic or imaginative thinking beyond his ego.
What you call creativity is activated laziness. It’s nothing more than a slavish pursuit of modern trends meant to outgun your competitors. And that’s okay. Activated laziness is often enough to win your vertical. But truly creative people who work for excellent cultures don’t have time for your imitative and uninspired hunt for what’s next.
So please stop bragging about your company’s awesome culture unless you have a commitment to embracing the brash and fearless creativity required to sustain the backbone of an intrepid culture.
And, let’s be real, you don’t.