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Little Find

The cookbook paradox

First-time best-sellers often struggle to write a follow-up book: 50% stop writing altogether after their initial success, while the other half go on to publish a book that is a variation on their first. So, the question is: what gets in the way of their creativity?

The answer lies in the psychological theory of role identity: when you see yourself as someone who is “creative”, you become afraid that failure will undermine your sense of self… and you stay in your comfort zone. You don’t produce anything anymore or you’re satisfied with a spin-off based on the initial idea that worked for you. On the other hand, people who have not tasted success are less worried with follow-ups and are more interested in producing original ideas. What can we learn from this? 
Focus more on the method than the outcome, and follow this advice:  

  • Use a creative process along the lines of design thinking to generate fresh ideas. 
  • Don’t suffer in silence: work as a team. 
  • Take the pressure off. Give yourself permission to get things wrong.  
  • Prioritize internal sources of motivation: create because it’s something you like doing and not in pursuit of a particular outcome. 

Maybe you haven’t had your first success yet… well, revel in it: an open road of creativity is stretching out in front of you! 

To go further

«Mix creativity with the right to serve up innovation»

by Dirk Deichmann and Markus Baer (MITSloan Management Review, May 1, 2023). 

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.