If you ask a group of kindergarteners if they can sing, dance, draw, paint, act, etc., every single one of them will raise her hand.
If you ask that same group if they can read or do math, you might get a few hands, but largely, no.
If you ask a group of middle schoolers if they can read or do math, every single one of them will raise her hand.
If you ask that same group if they can sing, dance, draw, paint, act, etc., you might get a few hands, but largely, no.
We all know this. What happens? Do nearly all humans somehow become NOT creative in eight years?
What we have to do is “reclaim our creative confidence.” In fact, it’s critical to our ability to come up with new ideas and be willing to try them – in other words, to innovate.
They identify four fears that block creativity:
- fear of the “messy unknown”
- fear of being judged
- fear of the first step
- fear of losing control
Think these apply to associations?
Fear of the messy unknown is about being uncomfortable with ambiguity. We want answers – not only AN answer, but THE answer. We like budgets that account for every pencil we’re going to buy down to the penny and that balance with a respectable 5% profit (only we call it “revenue over expense”). Our volunteer leaders like projects that start and end within their term. We want to be able to measure everything, and share a dashboard with our members that shows how awesome we are because we grew 2% over last year. We want guarantees that “it” (whatever “it” is) is going to work before we’re willing to try it. We want to invest only in sure winners.
Why? Because we fear not failure, and not even necessarily judgement, but criticism. Twenty members might love the experiment, and fifty might be willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for now, but if three complain, we have to shut it down. NOW. Board member? Only one person has to complain.
So if we know that we can only bet on winners and only make bets everyone agrees with and supports whole-heartedly, no wonder we can’t take the first step. Too risky.
In the end, it is all about control, or the illusion thereof. It comes from a good place – we want everything to be perfect for our members all the time – but it leads to a very bad place, known as The Land of We Have Always Done It That Way.
Where could your association go if you could learn to face and release your fears?
(Read the article – it will inspire you and maybe help you see a way out.)