Can You Be Too Creative for Your Own Good?

Can You Be Too Creative for Your Own Good?

I’m a big advocate for creativity and creative people. In fact, I’ve written an ebook on the subject, and I’ve taught it to teams around the world. But occasionally, I find creative people who use their creativity like a weapon to undermine projects, become control freaks or play to their laziness. Here’s what I mean:

It happens when creative people think creativity is the only issue. But no matter how creative a product, idea or project is, if it can’t be delivered on time, it will fail. Plus, no matter how creative the idea, if you can’t get along with other members of your team, it will never be completed.

Creativity is incredibly important, but if it doesn’t have a strategy to be used correctly, it will never reach the right audience and make an impact.

I spoke to a book agent recently who told me about a writer he represented. The writer was a bestselling, incredibly talented author. But because he treated his editors with contempt and his publishers with scorn, nobody wanted to work with him. In spite of his gigantic sales, he’d been through nine publishers, and his current project will probably never be read.

A few years ago, I worked with a very contemporary church who had one of the most creative television teams in the country. They really did amazing work on a weekly TV program produced by the church. The problem? They weren’t willing to adapt their creativity so the programming would get a better response. They weren’t willing to consider fundraising, promotional or other response techniques. As a result, the program, which was otherwise amazing, never gained support. Because the video team wanted to have fun and be wildly creative, the program eventually crashed and today just limps along in a few markets.

The bottom line is—creativity is a powerful God-given gift—but it’s also an amazing tool. That’s why the best creative writers, directors and producers know how to embrace techniques that create powerful advertising, massive film releases and win international awards.

Be wildly creative. But unless your work impacts an audience, you’ll fail.

This article originally appeared here.

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Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California (cookepictures.com)where he helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."