Harvard Business Review's "7 Rules for Managing Creative People" - A Rebuttal
The Harvard Business review recently published a blog titled "7 Rules for Managing Creative People." Sound interesting? Well too bad, because the article's actually terrible!
What do I mean by "terrible" exactly? I mean stupid. I mean insulting. I mean condescending. I mean so jammed with illogical, specious reasoning that to read it is to know the heart of all humanity's failures—a whirling, black void rimmed with ravenous, tree-sized tentacles whispering "Best practicesssss" through their toothed suction-grips as they flail and grasp spasmodically, hungering for the around flesh of your neck.
So, obviously, I didn't like the article very much. But so what? I hate lots of things. Airports, babies, people in general, peaches, fur coats and baseball. Zooey Deschanel, Seth Macfarlane, and for reasons I can't quite articulate, Kate Hudson.
The difference here is that, unlike what I think about Zooey Deschanel or baseball or peaches, how we think about the "creative" professions matters, especially in our industry when like 90 percent of the people in it could be described as "creatives."
I don't know enough about The Harvard Business Review blogs to tell you how much they influence business and management culture. I can tell you though, that as a "creative," a lot of the ideas expressed in the article are old enemies-bad conceptions and psychological traps that have haunted both artists and managers since the two first started working with each other. The ideas, if not the blog post itself, are worth addressing, for the sake of our shared managerial sanity.
Give the original article a read here. Note also that since I first read the article, the blog's author has changed the title of the post. From "7 Rules for Managing Creative People" to "Seven Rules for Managing Creative-But-Difficult People" after the outcry his blog caused. Similarly, point #5 of the post was also changed, though the original title was left readable, via strikethrough. Neither of these changes alter my core complaints about the post, but are worth mentioning all the same.