"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Admnistrators' guide for squelching creativity

With the World Creativity Forum coming to Oklahoma City this fall, our state is facing a insidious threat to its stability and conservative, God-fearing, status-quo lifestyle.


We must prepare to challenge and defeat these liberal-socialist ideas and thoughts from beyond our borders, which will be bigger threats than terrorism or homosexuality. Based on my many years as an administrator in higher education, I believe I'm called by God and Sally Kern to provide some proven guidelines for other administrators  on how to squelch creativity. These should be studied by all  idea police as we mobilize to protect our state from creativity.

Administrators' Creativity Squelching Checklist
  • Call lots of long meetings that bore people to death, sapping any creative energy people have with trivia, wasting time that could be spent creatively, and accomplish nothing but bolster your authority.
  • Make sure every person has multiple committee jobs that require paperwork and is saddled with several reports on things like strategic planning and program evaluations.
  • Demand that all ideas be presented to you first, on the "Permission to Have a New Idea" form. (Sample  of page 1 of 10-page form attached at bottom of this list). Form must be signed by all people involved or affected.
  • Remember, it's always more important to have a slogan, changed often, rather than any substance.
  • Applicant must  demonstrate on appropriate form how New Idea fits a prescribed list of objectives attached to  the current slogans.
  • When presented with the form, ask them if they've filled out the necessary budgetary, personnel, travel, facilities, and other paperwork. Demand those be returned by the end of the day.
  • "They can be found on the website," will saddle them searching the web the rest of the day so they'll miss the deadline.
  • If they do turn in the forms, tell them they've filled out the wrong ones, because they were changed yesterday.
  • Assign their idea to the New Idea Committee for approval, and tell them it only meets once a month. Next meeting will be three weeks from now.
  • In talking to them, use lots of obscure acronyms--the ones nobody knows. These confuse, irritate and depress them. It makes them look ignorant and you "in the know." Meanwhile, creativity begins to wither in the barrage of nonsense. Hint: best examples are from the U.S. military and higher education.   
  • If they question you, or disagree, accuse them of insubordination.  Refuse to sign their form. Start figuring out how to make their job harder so they won't have time to have any ideas (Remember, there is no statute of limitations on getting even). Assign them to at least one more committee immediately, telling them how essential their experience is.
  • If they somehow manage to accomplish all the paperwork for a New Idea, assure them you'll look at it sometime this week, and lose the form in the clutter on your desk. The first time they call about it, tell them you're "working on it." The next time, tell them you  fought for it, but the higher ups, "they," didn't. Tell them to try again next year. Then ask them if they've filled out all the reports from their committee work and tell them they're due today.
  • Be very suspicious of people from different cubicles talking together, or to other administrators.  Such conversations are breeding grounds for creativity. Insist on following a "chain of command." Don't let anyone talk to others without your approval. Make them fill out the "Permission to Talk to Others Form" (Find it on our special Squelching Creativity website).
  • If all else fails, just make up a policy forbids the New Idea ("It's somewhere on the website"). 
  • Other sure-fire ways to squelch creativity: "We tried that once years ago. Didn't work." Or, "We've never done that before."
APPENDIX
Permission To Have a New Idea Form--page 1
  • Name________________________________ 
  • Qualifications to Have  a New Idea (no more than 5 pages):
  • New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Benefits of New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Potential dangers of New Idea. Make sure to explain how New Idea won't harm Oklahoma, and the guarantees for that. Are there any proven antidotes? (At least 10 pages):
  • How will the New Idea make your supervisor look good?
  • Review of literature supporting New Idea with APA style citations (at least 5 pages):
  • Statistical analysis of effects of New Idea including Chi Squares, ANOVA and Likert scales (at least 5 pages):
  • Bibliography  (Warning: You may use only Oklahoma sources):
  • List of all people potentially affected by New Idea (include all e-mails):
  • Be sure and fill out the next nine pages, signed and approved by every person potentially affected by the New Idea.
  • Power point presentation on New Idea must be completed, with lots of small hard-to-read fancy type, bright colors and graphics. Get IT's approval. Be prepared to read every word of each slide  at presentation to New Idea Committee (Power point will probably not work, so be prepared to read entire document anyway).
  • (This year's organizational slogan goes here, and on every page)

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