The Creator, The Preserver, The Destroyer

Kate Moor's picture

I was reading an older book by Tom Peters – The Circle of Innovation OR You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness (first published in 1997). He comes up with an interesting concept based on his experiences in India and his learning a bit about Hinduism. Or in his words all you need to know about business and anything else for that matter..

He states that every business and it doesn’t matter of it is private or public is about balancing. We balance systems, infrastructure, regularity and consistency which are preservation and remembering. We invent the new which is all about creation and we forget the old which is all about destroying. Tom Peter’s asks the question should every company three equal leaders or head of business.

  • The Head of Creation - the Keeper of the Flame of Creation
  • The Head of Preservation - the Keeper of the Flame of Preservation
  • The Head of Destruction - the Keeper of the Flame of Destruction

The logic is somewhat a sound one (as pointed out) it is very difficult if not almost impossible for one person to effectively encompass all these of the mindsets. The emotional make-up of the preserver is the antithesis of the emotional mindset of the destroyer. He highlights that in most organizations preservation gets the facto (very) top billing, with creation (a distant) second and destruction (an-off-the-chart) third.

Whilst we all like to think we work for enlightened creative and get-up-and-go organizations if truth be known most don’t and what we see today is a lot of preservation (batten-down, cut costs, keep doing the same but with less). Let’s face it so many businesses wouldn’t have gone to the wall over recent months if this wasn’t the case. Creation is stifled because funding is cut, resources are cut or fear of something new takes over. We often don’t have the wherewithal or courage to knock-down the old and build something new.

The Circle of Innovation was published in 1997 but this is still relevant today. So, perhaps the idea of a Creator, a Preserver and a Destroyer isn’t such a silly idea. The current environment might just force this if business is to survive and be ready for the upturn that will most certainly come.

What role would you logically fit into?