How to Keep Office Collaboration from Becoming a Creativity Killer


When I look over proofs and copy that has tracked changes all over it with notes the length of a full page, I stop and think, why can’t we just make some of these edits together by just sitting together and throwing around ideas?

I actually missed the days when I worked at a small company, and when I had to share my already too small cubicle with another person. We had to find resourceful solutions together by sticking up post its everywhere and often we would find ourselves collaborating with passionate disagreements, whichs led to us coming up with brilliant ideas.

Why You Need to Have Passionate Disagreements

I blame my love for passionately disagreeing with people on my uber competitive self. I have an obsession when I want to bring an idea to life and my mind can’t rest until it’s done. So when people are reluctant, passive and doubtful, creative collaborations can turn into a passionate disagreement quickly.

I have become a little too passionate, to the point where I was called defensive, when I really put hours of my work into something that I felt was meaningful and valuable. When I’m not passionate about the work I do, I’m passive. I couldn’t care less about the copy, I had no heart in it because everything I wrote was remade into a superficial sound byte meant to sell product.

And sound bytes never sell products.

But you must passionately disagree because it keeps you from one deadly, creativity killer: safety. The passionate people, are they passionate for change? For taking a new risk? I become passionate about something that is going to take me somewhere different, promises something new, gives me some rush of feelings or promises some reward, and for those things I will risk any safety.  

Have you ever tried to talk the boss out of something, because you knew it wouldn’t work out? The boss’ idea was too safe, to cliché, been done before, not innovative—and you had to execute on it?

I’ve been on a set and had the CEO come in and tell us to change everything and set us behind schedule. But we did it. Every. Single. Time. We had different shenanigans to prevent any obstacles he would create by purposely having someone take one for the team and distract him so he wouldn’t disrupt the shoot.

When we couldn’t get away with a shenanigan, I realized that we were ducking out of a creative opportunity—making something that we didn’t have planned or had the resources for, and then making it work. When the boss had us change everything, he had his passionate disagreement, and for the longest time we blamed our boss for being the creativity killer, when instead, we have to recognize when we’re protecting our ideas and playing it safe.

Passionate Disagreement Filters Out the Frauds

I had one mentor and I so badly wanted her approval, but she never had time for me and didn’t treat me like the other marketing girls on her team because I was only a web content writer. After years of trying to seek her approval, I gave up and continued to better myself for the sake of my career. The more I learned the field, I found out that she was a huge fraud. Everything she taught me were things that I had to unlearn and rebuild, and she wasn’t even the honest person I thought she was because she was really there just overcharging the CEO for her consulting services and lined the pockets of people in her inner circle.

I was so passionate about what I was building. To everyone else, I was just building blogs, but for me, I was sharing stories that meant something to people. She wasn’t building, she was taking, and all the effort I was giving, all the risks I wanted to take, they were all unmatched by her, and because she was a fraud, she couldn’t give me any approval or even any recognition, no matter how much I wanted it.

I can’t be that fraud. Even if I tried. And my passionate disagreements keep me from ever being the manipulator or the passive aggressivist.

So if you get into a passionate disagreement with me, it’s all in love, because that means we’re on the verge of creating a brilliant idea.

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