The Missing Ingredient in the Big-Company Model
Anita Sharpe on Creativity
As far as creative work goes, you would think heading a major television network would rank near the top. So I did a psychic double-take yesterday when Brad Siegel, former president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said in a small meeting: 'I'm on fire now to create something and sell it to somebody.'
'At large companies, you lose sight of creating a product,' said Siegel, who is in the midst of launching the Gospel Music Channel.
For me, that sentence summed up a lot about what's broken in corporate America.
Most large companies, even those built on creativity, work off an assembly-line model. Everyone touches just a small piece of the product without being able to take much creative ownership.
Maybe that's what's really behind a lot of burn-out and job dissatisfaction -- more than long hours and bad bosses. You can put up with a lot when you are creating something you care about and can take real ownership in the final product.
It reminds me of a passage I read in college from Birds of America by Mary McCarthy: 'There would be no reason for everybody to write crummy poems or paint ghastly pictures in order to feel creative, if they had the possibility. . .of making something useful.'