THE MAGAZINE      May/June 2002
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Killer Phrases

Words that Get in Creativity’s Way

Phrases to watch out for:

It’ll never work.
I don’t have time.
It’s not in the budget.
The boss will never go for it.
We’ve tried that before.
That sounds like something my kids would say.
Let’s get a committee to look into this.
Because I said so.
Great idea, but not for us.
It’s out of scope. [Consultanese for "We don’t get paid to look here."]
You’re too young.
If it ain’t broke …
We’ve always done it this way.
I’ll get back to you.
Do you realize the paper it will create?
It’s not your responsibility.

Taken with permission from What a Great Idea: The Key Steps Creative People Take by Charles "Chic" Thompson (Harper Perennial, 1992). Check out Thompson’s Web site and download a free poster at