Ed Glassman
Ed Glassman

Take Responsibility For The Creative Climate In Your Work Group

How responsible are you for the creative thinking of other people? A lot? A little? Not at all? Actually you are 100% responsible.

Why 100% responsible? Because you can stop saying “NO” so easily. Your automatic No devastates the creative thinking of others. Also because you can use yes-If, and other idea-helping skills to create a creative climate for others. Pretend all the ideas you hear come from your boss.

On the other hand, how responsible are you for your own creative thinking? A little? A lot? Actually 100%.

Why? Because you can assert to others who have a large automatic No and quick negative criticism. Ask them to help you develop your idea, not kill it. Be assertive and create a creative climate around you.

Help creative thinking by squelching criticism, not new ideas. A new idea is like a brown, ugly seed. You do not know whether it will grow into a lovely flower or a common weed until you plant it and nurture it. Likewise, a newly formed idea is half-developed or half-baked; what you call it depends on whether it is your idea, and on whether you like it.

Many people find new ideas disconcerting. They do not know the direction the idea will take or whether it will get there. Many mistakes will occur. Surrounded by high risk, no one can predict the future and prove in advance any new idea will succeed. Because people find new ideas unpredictable and hard to develop, people find them easy to reject. Hence the quick automatic NO.

So accept 100% responsibility for the creative climate around you. You can use Yes-If to help the ideas of other people. You can assert to help yourself. You can change a negative climate to a positive one by your own actions!

A HABIT THAT SPOILS CREATIVE THINKING: We discourage & squelch new ideas, especially bizarre ideas.


Creative climate means the attitudes and behaviors that lead to the freer use of everyone’s ideas during problem solving. This includes the use of ‘helping and reinforcing’ responses to new ideas, willingness to examine and explore different points of view, and deliberate searching for new connections between facts, beliefs, and ideas to create quality solutions.

You can foster such a positive climate by looking for the good in ideas before concentrating on what is bad, using yes-If, and other approaches. You can stimulate others to do likewise by eagerly listening to new ideas and finding whatever is good and useful in them. You can eliminate the times you and others take automatic pot shots at each other’s ideas.

The quick automatic NO impedes a creative climate for solving problems. You can help encourage positive climate factors by setting the example, the tone, and the mood for everyone else.

A positive creative climate is a rarity rather than commonplace. So, it takes much courage and patience to stay creative and to express new ideas. And it takes courage and patience to help another person with their idea rather than voice your quick negative criticism. It takes courage and patience to defer judgement of ideas during problem solving meetings.

You can become the prime mover toward a positive creative climate. You need to stay optimistic. You need to convince others by modeling the behaviors you want to encourage. You need to understand the great disadvantages of the quick automatic NO response, and you must help the what’s-good-about-it approach until it becomes the habitual response of other people around you.

Remember: Creative thinking support leads to MORE creative thinking support. Lack of creative thinking support leads to more LACK of creative thinking support.


And checkout my NEW 2016 book:


How To Be More Creative Than You Think You Are.”


©2016 by Ed Glassman, Ph.D.


His book: “Team Creativity At Work I & II: Creative Problem Solving At Its Best,” is available: CLICK here OR HERE.

His book: “R&D CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION HANDBOOK: A Practical Guide To Improve Creative Thinking and Innovation Success At Work” is available.   CLICK here  OR HERE

Ed Glassman, Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, founded the Program For Team Excellence And Creativity at the university. He led scores of problem-solving creativity meetings and creative thinking workshops-seminars for many large and small companies. He was a ‘Guggenheim Foundation Fellow’ at Stanford University, a ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the ‘Center For Creative Leadership’ in Greensboro, NC, a Visiting Professor at the University Of California at Irvine, and a Visiting Scientist at SRI International In Palo Alto, California.

About the Author
Ed Glassman, Ph.D., is professor emeritus and former head of the "Program for Team Effectiveness and Creativity," in the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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