Running from the Zombies- Why Creatives Suffer in the Corporate World

The wildly popular AMC series Walking Dead, features a band of survivors who band together in a world plagued by flesh-eating zombies.

If you think about it, most of corporate America is a lot like the Walking Dead series. You have so many people that aimlessly walk through the halls, zapped of life and creativity. When these zombies come in contact with someone that is more “alive”, they go into immediate seek and destroy mode.

The reality is that having some rogue creatives in your group can help your organization propel to greatness. Some of the great business people of our time like Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg are now known for blazing new paths to greatness but before their rise, were most likely known as “trouble-making creatives”.

If you’re a leader and have some creatives on your team, try to encourage their creativity and mitigate their tendency to be bulls in a china shop. Keep the zombies at bay because if you don’t, they’ll suck the very life out of your creatives.

Give this lively bunch a task involving innovative thought or streamlining processes. Be sure to give them the autonomy and support they need to be effective. Also, you’ll want to set the expectation that not all of their ideas will be embraced but that you want to hear all of them.

There are three things you need to know to ensure the creatives on your team flourish in your organization.

They will work around your hierarchy

This frustrates a lot of those committed to the cult of corporate thinking.  These types love chains of command so when a creative works outside the lines to accomplish a task, it can cause quite the shit storm.  As a leader, you need to recognize this as progress and allow the creative to do what they need to in order to move the needle in your company.  Some of the greatest ideas and products came from creatives being willing to honor corporate boundaries.  Help the rest of your team to understand that creatives see their work as a passion and will not let anything hinder accomplishing a goal they are passionate about.  In the end, your company benefits the most.

Allow them to be mentors

This is a great step for two reasons.  The first, it spreads their creative spark to others who might need a jolt of inspiration.  It also helps with creating some empathy since most creatives see only their passion and not the aftermath it can sometimes leave.

Allow the creatives to unite

There’s something magnetic about creatives.  They will naturally seek out and bond with like-minded coworkers so allow it.  While this group will need some oversite to keep them on track and not pissing everyone off in the office, you’ll find that this group will most likely feed off of each other’s energy and ideas.  Promote that and watch as processes are streamlined, new products are dreamed up and marketing ideas flourish.  This is another great opportunity to infuse the group with some of the zombies in your organization as a way to bring some life back into them.


Rather than letting your company be overrun by zombies that will simply follow instruction and not add any extra value to your organization, let your creatives have their way and get ready to watch your organization be pushed to greatness.

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