You Don’t Need to Teach Birds to Fly

Tim Horan with Zorro the wedge-tailed eagle.

Creative people are a big problem for business.

People who are creative are not a problem because they are ‘difficult’. Truth is, you’re unlikely to get to the ‘difficult’ stage with them because they rarely make it through the interview process.

That’s a paradox. Your business has a challenge that can only be overcome through creativity, but your process filters out creative types. What can you do?

You look to people you know. People who have distinguished themselves by playing nice with the system that your business is comfortable with.

You then tell these people to be creative. It doesn’t work. You interpret their lack of creativity as poor performance. Your proscriptions and advice get you nowhere. This frustrates you because they are a great fit for your culture.

A business culture is only healthy if it’s vibrant and diverse. Your culture has kept everyone at the level of a hedgehog. What you need is a bird.

Performance reviews for hedgehogs that refuse to be birds are absurd. You don’t need to teach birds to fly. They’ll do fine if you let them stretch their wings.

We need birds. There are not many birds left though. We’re destroying their homes.

Why not create a welcome habitat for them?

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