How to Stifle Creativity

This guide was NOT inspired by “How to Argue like an Idiot” guide. THAT guide is designed to destroy thinking of any and all types. This one targets only creative thought.

“One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine…”
– From a Soviet Junior Lt’s Notebook

Why Discourage Creativity at Work? The new economy demands it. Global competition and world wide technological stagnancy in fields such as automotive and medicine have left many of us scrambling. If your business is a moneymaker, and profitable, STATUS QUO is the order of the day. DO NOT INNOVATE. STICK WITH WHAT WORKS! After all, things like toilet paper and umbrellas have not changed significantly in thousands of years, and they work great! If people really had a voracious appetite for ideas and innovation , they would change things themselves, not wait for you to do it!
Punish Failure. If anyone dares to try something risky or creative and fails, be sure to let them know you “told them so.” Make them regret it for the rest of their days there, which should be few, because you need to use them to set an example. The biggest success stories result from the one guy that knew absolutely what he was doing and was a super genius without compare. Remember Edison and the light bulb?
Eliminate Ambiguity. Something either works, or doesn’t. You. Are. The. Boss. Stamp out uncertainty. If you think it won’t work, it probably won’t. Why try if failure is even a possibility? FEAR FAILURE! Straight A students didn’t get straight ‘A’s because they were smart, they got them because they were terrified of failure!
Interrupt your Inferiors and pull them away from what they are doing without asking. Don’t ever let them build up enough steam to do anything worthwhile that might improve working conditions or threaten your job.  Periodically, even the best employees begin to work up come creative mind-flow which must be disrupted. Preferably, wait until you see them furiously intent on what they are doing. If they are working with power tools, so much the better because there is nothing better than when the “Days Without An Incident” sign reads “0”. Remember, productivity decreases by as much as 40% when people “multitask”, and if people are 100% productive then that is less productivity for you to steal.
Don’t Pay Attention to Others when they say things you don’t understand. How dare someone have an idea in your magnificent presence? When someone comes to you with an idea, or you hear an idea, interrupt them with an idea of your own, yawn, grimace, frown, sneer, look at your email, look at your blackberry, start a side conversation, do ANYTHING but pay attention to them. And DON’T make eye contact! It will only encourage their rambling. Be sure to write their idea down, though, so that you can claim it as your own later on.
Censor EVERYTHING. Stifle the creative juices by monitoring employee communications. Correct employees on everything from grammar to punctuation. If they send a funny email out to the entire company that is relevant, pertinent, and thought provoking, call them into your office and chew them out. “’Everyone’ is for HR only!” Make sure they understand that all of their ideas must come from you first. The added benefit to this is that if you run across an idea that actually has merit, you can take it.
Sleep During Meetings. If you don’t hear the idea happen, then it didn’t. Long, unnecessary meetings, full of boring graphs and charts that berate and belittle every department, including your own, are fantastic sleep induction devices.
Create Rules and Boundaries. People are supposed to toe the line, not cross it! Punish violators severely. Promote at least 50% of your staff to some sort of management responsibility so that the rules may be enforced most effectively. Post inspiration slogans on the wall like these time honored axioms:
• “Stay Within The Lines”
• “Follow Procedures!”
• “Watch the Bottom Line”,
• “Quarterly Profits are not everything, they are the ONLY thing!”
Remember, a demoralized staff is a hard working, obedient staff.
Don’t Ask Questions. People ask questions when they are interested in something. You can’t maintain conformity and status quo if things are being questioned. Things are going just fine the way they are. Why mess with your perfect world?
Happiness is the Enemy. Foolishness, silliness, storytelling, imagination, etc… these are all things that distract from productivity. Nip them in the bud on sight. Begin your correction of the wayward employee with phrases like :
• “Well THAT won’t work.” (or any variety of “it can’t be done”)
• “Let me tell you what we’re not going to do…”
• “Be Serious”
• “Think before you speak!”
• “Sit down and shutup.”
• Get back in your box?”
• “Who let you off your leash?”
• “We don’t do that here.”
• “Wipe that smile off your face! If you are smiling, you aren’t working!”
Procedures Must be Followed. In the military, there is an entire command of officers and non-com’s who exist for the sole purpose of approving any changes to procedures. It takes months, if not years, to change even a simple procedure. And look at how successful they are! In some countries, they are the ruling body! Establishing a rigid command structure will guarantee your corporation a place in the annals of history.

Some day, I will release a book that is a tell-all about all the shitty bosses I have been plagued with in my life.  For now, though, this will have to do.

P.S. If you have read this far and don’t realize it is satire, then you just might be a shitty boss.  Good luck with that.

Brick Pilers strike again.

This is in response to a post on the Lake Bluff Patch.  

http://patch.com/illinois/lake-forest-lake-bluff/daily-grind-loses-lease

I’m not saying that this is necessarily the case here, but my observation has been that there is a highly vocal faction of people in Lake Bluff that seem to want downtown Lake Bluff to be somewhat like a downtown Libertyville, with trendy little shops and bars and lots and lots and lots of people pouring through. What motivates this faction?  Ultimately, this is how the landlords will be able to raise rents and reap serious profits – when their tenants are raking it in.

How did this happen, how did we get here?  It started with the loss of Center Video, included a building collapsing “accidentally,” followed with an erection of what can only be described as (IMHO) a hideous monstrosity (the building that houses Lake Bluff Brewery and Lulu’s), and has transformed Lake Bluff from the quaint, hidden community into a caricature of North Shore suburban life.  Quietude and peacefulness was the reason that so many of us moved here. Loud, blasting music that can be heard from 2 miles away WAS NOT.
I’m not sure that Douglass had anything to do with any of the afore mentioned items, I’m not sure if he owns more buildings than the old Village Market building.  I seem to recall he was involved in the design and building of the Monstrous Brick Pile (again, just my infinitesimal opinion, which I am allowed to freely express).
One thing is certain – “progress” for this brick pile faction in the community (let’s just call them “The Brick Pilers” because that is what they do, and we should call a brick a brick) of Lake Bluff is not about building community and consensus, it’s about getting their way, getting their profits, increasing the tax base, so they can get more money more money more money.  “Let’s cover it all in concrete and asphalt.  Hey, isn’t a bustling community of shoppers and tourists what we want here?” they demand. Not me, no thank you.
The critical mass needed to satisfy the Brick Pile faction is NOT the kind of community of which I would be proud.  It’s not community – it’s just converting Lake Bluff into a beach-side tourist attraction that brings in lots of outsiders, spending money.  That’s it.  At the end of the day, that’s all the residents will see: Lot’s of outsiders, spending money and attracting crime, clogging the streets, and creating a general nuisance to the residents of the town.
Perhaps, the days when kids could leave their backpacks on the ground outside of Village Market, with zero fear they’d be stolen are already gone forever.  Thank you Brick Pilers.  Thank you. (<- that was sarcasm.)

How to Argue Like an Idiot

Idiot n : A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot’s activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action but “pervades and regulates the whole.” He has the last word in everything. His decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions of opinion and taste, dictates the limitations of speech, and circumscribes conduct with dead-line.

                                 ~Ambrose Bierce “Devil’s Dictionary”

(This is based on all the ridiculous ways people try to win arguments and has nothing to do with the “12 Ideas for Arguing your Point Effectively” that I read the other day; you just think it does because you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.)

  1. The Selfishly Selfless Position: Make the argument about you. Defend your turf and the superiority of your decision making skills. Do not accept that you may be wrong. After all, you were there first! Just make sure that you frame it as “It’s not just me, but I am sure that everyone thinks…”  or “Think of the kids…” and “It’s not you, it’s me…”
  2. The Ignorance, oh the ignorance: There is only one side to any argument – the winning side. Your side. Do not pay attention to your opponent’s arguments. The best thing to do with an argument you don’t understand is to ignore it.
    Create lengthy arguments over easily reconcilable differences. Reconciliation takes time and means giving up something you want. Don’t do it.
  3. The Verbose, Brilliant Idiot: If you can’t blind them with your brilliance, baffle them with industry-speak and techno-babble. If your opponent uses masterful language and relevant examples and metaphors, rip them apart as irrelevant and fanciful. This is also known as the Proton-proton Chang of Nuclear Confusion.  If nobody understands your argument, it cannot be proven to be incorrect.
  4. The Irrefutable Irrefutableness of Irrefutability Argument: Allow people to believe that your opinions and beliefs are irrefutable truths, regardless of the fact that you are completely speculating and making it up. If they refuse to drink your lemonade, criticize them on a personal level, and point out their past failings.
  5. The Impending Gloom of Doom Offensive: For example, “I don’t see this project ever coming to light, don’t you remember what a huge failure your project management software solution was (ignore the fact that you may have caused it to fail). Certainly you can’t be trusted with an initiative like this one!” or “Coming from someone with a constant problem of x…” or “Allen is an imbecile and can’t be trusted with this” or “Whaaaah, my dog died last night.”
  6. Inverted Nascency : If it isn’t time tested it isn’t true. Likewise, if it isn’t brand new it must be worthless. Take whichever stance is applicable.
  7. The Defensive Offense: Be offended by even the slightest social misstep of anyone. It will give you great power over them. A good defense is the best offense.
  8. The Inverse Rule: “If everyone is doing it, then so should we.” Rely on arguments that stress wide acceptance and popularity, even if the others are not in the same industry, market, or building. It is also fair to execute the inverse of this argument, depending on your position. “Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean we should.”  Many arguments can be fairly inverted, this is just one example (and a good one! You read it on the Internet, right?)
  9. The Oz Emulation If your opponent’s argument is exceptionally strong, submit a straw man attack. For example, “Julie, I am surprised to hear this position from you. I wouldn’t expect this pro-nouveau argument from someone who still uses a PALM IV to organize her day.”
  10. Injected with Redirection: Simply create an argument that has nothing to do with the fact. Phone conferences are best for this. “I can’t believe the email I just got. Mike, your special project is over budget, again? I guess this means I can’t fund my special project to generate tons of new revenue sources and make me look really good after all….” You may not win, but Tim will be destroyed. Do your best to misdirect the attention from yourself. Make this appear to be inadvertent.
  11. Unobtainable Perfection Theorem: If the solution being offered is not perfect, it will not work. Do not accept anything less than perfect. This is called the “unobtainable perfection postulation.”  Your opponent’s way will NEVER be perfect; key-in on the imperfections and bloat them with aggrandized tales of your own horrific experiences with imperfect solutions. Once you get this argument tacked onto his back, he will slink back under that rock that he came from.  Get back in your box,Bob!
  12. The Kluge Deterrent: Do not accept “work-arounds” as anything less than costly and ineffective or allow them to mitigate the risks associated with imperfection. You will not lose this battle. Everyone hates “kluged” and “rigged” solutions. Say things like “We don’t want to leave any revenue on the table” or “We need to extract value from this engagement” and “We need to optimize profit potential” to emphasize your bottom line driven focus. How else will you get that Rolex?
  13. The Interior Posterior Perspective : Employ flattery. For example, tell the person how ‘cool’ they will be if only they help you and do as you ask. Inviting people to a special event is a form of flattery.  This idiot tries to jam his entire head up your butt.
  14. The Internet Proof: It’s on Wikipedia/Google, so it must be true (never mind you that I put it there and then used muy own book as a source for it to prove it.)
  15. The Trepidation: We’ve all played this angle, so you know the power of this one! If all else fails, throw a fit, yell, call them names, and break things. Nobody will dare defy you ever again. If there is no rebuttal, then you win. Here is a great example a friend sent over to me:  “…so outweighed by the fallacies as to firmly place you in the category labeled “dumbass”. Thanks for playing.*
  16. Locus of Origination:  If you aren’t from around these parts, you got no business being here, let alone sticking your nose into our business.  This works best when combined fluidly with The Trepidation: “Are you a complete MORON or just a Liberal import into Colorado from California that is trying to ruin this state like you did California. I guess you can’t fix STUPID!”*
  17. The Pabst Deflection: If it has a pretty blue ribbon, it must be good. (never you mind that the ribbon is 100 years old) If you can make your argument short enough, sweet enough, and put it in a pretty package with a pretty blue ribbon on it, nobody will ever look inside.  Heck, even if they do look, the package is so pretty they won’t care what’s inside.  It could be a pile of dog poo, and they will love it!  The best example of this is the many memes that get posted onto facebook.  If the picture is pretty, or says something you beleive in and connects point A to point B, nobody cares how accurate it is.  It’s TEXT.  On a pretty PICTURE -> therefore it MUST be true.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tremendously powerful tools. Remember, if everyone else is using them then you should,  too!  As you embark today into the world of idiots, remember : In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is just a lying fool, telling fancy tales.

*Quote is used for educational purposes and originated in a long, trailing post of idiocy by multiple people on that bastion of idiocy known as “facebook”.  Quote authors are Mike Wilson, whose profile pic is a picture of his girlfriend, and Nancy Shileikis, a former Target and Hobby Lobby employee.  Original thread can be viewed here.