Craig never shuts up. Ever. Diane openly worries that every new strategy idea is going to bring the company crumbling to the ground. Kevin picks apart every suggestion until everyone is weary of discussing it and there’s no actionable element left. As for Terri, well, she’s never heard an original idea that she liked (except, that is, for all of the ideas that she’s contributed).
Sure, brainstorming can be a productive way to solve problems; generate new products, services, or processes; and capitalize on golden opportunities. But far too often, say creative problem solving experts Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer, the process is hijacked by disruptive individuals who undermine collaborative efforts.
“Have you ever found yourself in a brainstorming meeting that felt dominated and controlled by an attention-seeking personality?” asks Rigie, coauthor along with Harmeyer of SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas. “If so, you are not alone. It seems every company or organization has its share of those idea killers.”
Most of those strong-willed participants likely believe they are keeping the group on track with candid insights or opinions. What they fail to realize is they can inject so much negativity, judgment, or distraction into a session that they derail a group’s idea generation momentum…and/or kill fledgling but promising ideas.
Who are these disruptive forces of chaos? Chances are you already know them.
“Right now, I’m sure a certain coworker, manager, supervisor, customer, client, or even upper-level boss is popping into your head,” says Harmeyer. “In fact, in our 20 years of brainstorming experience working with many of the top Fortune 500 companies, we’ve identified what we call a ‘rogue’s gallery’ of six disruptive personality types you might want to avoid inviting to your next brainstorming session.”
See how many of these troublesome types you can recognize:
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