Preventers of progress! Menaces of momentum! Saboteurs of success!

The boss who says no to everything. The colleague who lobs idea grenades at exactly the wrong time. That guy who just wants you to leave him alone. Sound familiar? If so you might be working with a charter member of …
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Innovation is driven by the behaviors of those involved in it. You’ve got to be open to new ideas but not so open that you abandon judgment. You’ve got to know when to think expansively and when to be more reductive. You’ve got to know how to go with your gut and how to let go of the idea you were sure was right. Often, however, failure to unlock innovation’s potential comes from a misalignment of behaviors. Self-preservation, sour dispositions, a lack of situational awareness—these are among the obstacles that arise on the journey.

And sometimes certain people play recurring roles. In the work we do at ?What If!, we see them all. At the right moment, their innate behaviors are essential to the undertaking. But when they don’t know how to turn them on and off—to jump between the necessary attitudes and brain states—they become more problem than solution. These archetypes have become so familiar that we can predict how each one thinks, what they’re likely to say to sabotage the process—and most important, how to bring them into the fold.

Here are the worst offenders, our Innovation Legion of Doom. Are you a member? Do you work with one of these super villains? The first step in fighting back is knowing what you’re up against. Got one to add? Let us know @whatifglobal.

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Illustration by Alex Fine.

FROM the greenhouse