I just got out of a brainstorming meeting. There were a lot of dad jokes, way too many puns and a whole lot of bad ideas followed by gracious smiles and awkward silences.
That’s how these meetings go. No idea is too bad. Nothing is off limits. As long as we keep talking, we’re staying energized and engaged, eager to get to that great idea we know is out there…somewhere. Sometimes way out there, but definitely still out there.
Oh, in case you were wondering, there actually were a few good ideas that came out of that meeting. And, honestly, it was the bad ideas—dad jokes and all—that got us there.
The Enemy of Ideas
I’d like you to meet someone. She’s the enemy of ideas, collaboration and all things creative. Her name is Ego.
Ego keeps us from sharing an idea that’s not perfectly developed because we don’t want people to think our ideas are bad. Ego also gets in the way of hearing others’ ideas because we’re more concerned about making sure ours is heard.
I was recently in another meeting, and the person leading was anonymously presenting the work of the creatives in the room for the purpose of gathering honest feedback from the group. My friend Ego found her seat at the table and began to scrutinize the work of others, looking for all the reasons my team’s submission was superior. It took me a minute, but I eventually realized Ego was getting in the way of my ability to identify the strengths of the many other creative pieces in front of me.
If meetings at your company have been uncommonly quiet lately, Ego could be to blame. Are people holding back to protect their pride? Or are they failing to speak up because they know they won’t be heard above the biggest ego in the room?
At Jackson, Uncommon Collaboration is one of our company values, and the only reason we’re able to put it into action is because we don’t leave room for Ego around here. It doesn’t matter if our accountant comes up with a better idea than our copywriter—if it’s the best idea, we’re going to use it. That’s what makes our collaboration uncommon.
So long, Ego. We’re okay with dad jokes around here. We’ll even allow a few puns here and there…just don’t let our creative director hear you.