First of all, I believe all people are capable of being creative. Don’t believe me? Just check out a kindergarten class. Who’s not creative in that bunch? We’re all born creative, but somewhere along the line, some people choose to follow a different path. Which is why I believe you’re either a person who doesn’t realize how creative you could be, or a person who chooses to be uncreative. And in some cases, some choose to be radically uncreative.
Once I was asked to help a major media ministry rebrand and rethink their national presence. But as always, a few people in the organization preferred the old way of doing things. But the changes I was making were having a very positive impact, so the uncreative people got desperate. I was directing one of their national TV broadcasts – a huge live event in a massive arena in a major city. While I was directing, the uncreative folks decided to re-label the videotapes to make it look like I was incompetent, and it worked – for awhile.
While I directed the program from the control room, they posted a guy in the videotape room who didn’t put a label on the program tape at all. And then they recorded my “preview” cut, which is just the feed that I use to check different cameras. It’s not to be recorded at all, but they did record it, and labelled it as the PROGRAM.
Later, the CEO called me into his office, understandably furious. His team had shown him what they said was the program cut, and he rightly thought it was idiotic. He hammered me about how incompetent I must be at directing a television program.
I looked at it stunned for a moment, then figured it out. I went to the videotape library, looked over the tapes, and re-labeled them and re-showed them to the CEO.
He was so furious at the extent his own people had gone to undermine my work – and his ministry – he fired them on the spot.
The lesson? Never underestimate the lengths uncreative people will go to in an effort to undermine your work. Since that incident, nothing surprises me. Desperate people want to live in a rut. They become insecure, and threatened by any change. They like things exactly as they are, and are willing to fight to keep it that way.
So creative world changers – keep your guard up. It can get ugly out there.