Daily Inspiration: “Committees? Never has so much been said by so many to hold back the great ideas of so few!”


“Committees? Never has so much been said by so many to hold back the great ideas of so few!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

How many times does this happen – you have a great idea that you know will succeed – only to have it go to a committee, who proceed to destroy your idea?

For a long time, I’ve been mystified to find that many organizations just seem to do everything they can to shut down new ideas. One thing I do know for sure – committees are one of the worst sources of failed innovation, the destruction of big ideas, the lack of progress! They are the destroyers of all initiative, the nuclear option of those who are desperate to stall all success!

They are an absolute sure-fire way of shutting down ideas! The herd mentality takes over, and activity sclerosis soon sets in. Committees are the ultimate tool of the marginal mind since they let the mediocre among you let these creativity-destroying cultures take over, where it becomes easy to:

  • defer decisions. It becomes easier to wait than to make any bold, aggressive moves. Uncertainty is a virtue; indecision is an asset.
  • hide failure. If anyone tries something new and doesn’t succeed, the committee makes sure that no one else sees it. You don’t want to set a message that it is important to take risks. A committee provides cover for the rise of the lowest common denominator, the weak, insecure, idea-free individuals who walk among you;
  • let mediocrity rule. The role of a committee is to ensure that most of your team doesn’t pursue any type of fresh new thinking. They’ll just keep doing what they’ve always done.
  • instill fear. Their goal is to make sure that everyone thinks that everything is going to be all right through inaction. You don’t have to deal with potential business market disruption, new competitors, significant industry transformation, or the impact of globalization. Everything will look the same ten years from now, so just keep everyone focused on doing the same old thing!
  • accept the status quo. Things are running perfectly, you’ve got the perfect strategy, and all of your customers are thrilled with your brand and the levels of customer service. There’s no need to do anything new since it’s all going to work out just fine!
  • be cautious. The message of a committee? Don’t make any bold, aggressive moves. Just take things slowly, one step at a time. If you move too fast, things are likely to go wrong.
  • glorify process.  Make sure that everything is filled out in triplicate; ensure that process slows down any radical ideas.  It’s more important to do things perfectly with meaningless routines than it is to make mistakes.
  • be narrow. A committee will ensure that you keep a very tiny view of the future. You can’t succeed with any big wins, because there aren’t going to be any dramatic surprises in the future. Why think big and bold when you can be tiny and weak? Think small! Act accordingly.
  • encourage complacency: rest easy – there’s no need to worry. The future isn’t going to change anything!
  • continually study things to death. Don’t let any uncertainty creep into your decision-making process. Make sure that if you are to do anything, that you’ve spent sufficient time and effort to understand all the variables. Your goal is to ensure that any decision is free of risk, unlikely to fail, and will in retrospect be carefully and fully documented.

Committees? They are the root of all failure!


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.