Cleaning Out The Creativity Killers

It’s that time of year.

Is your station stuck in a rut?

Doing the same old contests, same old promotions, some old ideas for clients?

It’s time for some summer cleaning. You need to get rid of the creativity killers within your walls, and here’s the most common ones:

  1. Control Cops. Exercising too much need for control always zaps creative impulses. If you have a control cop in your midst, sit ’em down and shut ’em down, or ship ’em out.
  2. The Fear Factory. Nothing kills creativity like fear. Fear of failure, fear of blame, fear of losing your job. You are the only one who can prove to those under you that it’s ok to try something and have it flop and move on to try something else.
  3. The Pressure Cooker. The more pressure you feel, the harder it is to create great. That’s why almost all great ideas erupt in minds outside the walls of your building. Let your most creative thinkers take walks, swim in a lap pool, play video games, or do whatever they do that puts them in their best creative zone.
  4. The Insulation Trap. I see this one most often in the largest consolidated companies. Well, I don’t see it, because they don’t let me inside, but I hear about it. It’s a closed room, an insular group, and no one new ever gets inside. New ideas are a threat. New people are a threat. Everyone at the top is insecure and anxious. The only way to fix this is to force yourself to bring in people you don’t think you need and listen to ideas you don’t think you like. Ehhhh…I’m having trouble seeing myself in Cumulus meetings, how about you?
  5. The Axis of Apathy. Self-explanatory. No one cares. The whole team needs a big passion infusion, probably from the outside, or you just need a whole new team.
  6. Narrow-minded Nabobs of Negativism. Sorry, couldn’t resist. These guys aren’t insecure like the insulars of #4, they’re just creatures of habit who like to say “No” to anything new and untried. It’s just easier to do what they’ve always done. It’s less work mentally, and that feels “right” to them. There’s usually at least one person like this on almost every staff. You’re ok if it’s just one, but if your whole team’s like this, you’ve got to force the issue, and challenge them to create something brand new. They can do it, it just makes them uncomfortable.

This is the time of year when you can look at next year’s calendar, month by month, and think about what you’ve always done, and what you would like to do differently next year.

It’s great to have some institutional events, especially community things, like fundraisers for your Children’s Hospital, but push yourself to create some fun, new ideas to engage your listeners, to really involve your station with their lives, and not the other way around.