Reclaim Your Creative Confidence and the Fear of Being Judged

Fear-with-GogglesFear that others will judge us negatively keeps many people from making creative suggestions or trying something new when working on a project. That can be especially tricky when you are a consultant and are expected to “the expert” from day one! But taking creative risks is important when clients (whether external or internal) want results that exceed the status quo.

According to David Kelley and Tom Kelley (HBR 12/12), most people “self-edit, killing potentially creative ideas because we’re afraid our bosses or peers will see us fail. We stick to ‘safe’ solutions or suggestions. We hang back, allowing others to take risks.”

A relatively new approach to software development, Agile/Scrum, is changing this dynamic in a positive way. With Agile’s focus on more frequent deliverables and smaller timeframes, it allows for more creative solutions.

Unlike in project development models used in the past, the Agile team isn’t trying to define all the requirements up front. Instead, they’re just defining the stuff to finish in the next sprint and a set of backlog features/items, which gives them the flexibility to adjust and modify their approach throughout the project. In fact, the concept of “rework” is a key piece of Agile. In the traditional model, rework was seen as a failure because requirements must have been missed.

An Agile approach means fixes are expected, which allows the team to keep moving forward quickly and confidently. It’s a great analogy for creative problem solving in any work situation and in life!

Next time: Fear of the First Step