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Yes, You Are a Creative Genius!

Illustration by Blair Thornley

Don't give up on corporate America. Breakthrough research in creativity points away from the superstar CEO and toward a selfless, spiritual enterprise we might call Innovators R Us.

This article appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of Spirituality & Health. Where facts are thin, superstitions flourish, even in allegedly rational activities like business. Consider the risk-loving, money-driven entrepreneur, the familiar John Wayne myth of macho capitalism that permeated the cultures of Enron and WorldCom. Thirty years ago, Harvard's late, great David McClelland and dozens of protégés around the world put the lie to the risklover stereotype. In hundreds of experiments, they found that successful entrepreneurs hate risk like the Devil, as do other true innovators. That's why they talk about it so much and get all the feedback possible on how to beat it -- and thus achieve their driving dream. The myth that entrepreneurs are motivated by greed is even harder to dig out of capitalism's conventional economic theology. When you talk incentives in business, the dogma remains dollars. Yet McClelland demonstrated again and again that entrepreneurial people do not perform better when they are offered economic incentives. In fact, they do worse. "It is the challenge of the job itself that …

About the Author

In 2003, Craig B. Wynett was General Manager of New Business at Procter & Gamble. T George Harris founded Psychology Today and American Health magazines, and led the team that created Spirituality & Health.

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