I’m taking a page from Seth Godin’s Blog but I see the steps a bit differently. And I see them as inevitable. The steps can be delayed, perhaps for long periods and there are rare leaps backward to a previous step but those never work. Once a company has moved forward, it can never really go back and they all discover that quickly. If you’re in step 2, do everything possible to stay there.

Here is my Kubler-Ross-style stages of business grief:

  1. A technician or creative type invents it
  2. Creative types rule it
  3. MBAs run it
  4. MBAs and their minions cut cost to save it by eliminating all creativity
  5. Business folds

GM entered step 4 last year. United Airlines is entering step 4. Apple has held tight to step 2—so far. When Jobs goes, jobs will go.

MBAs hate creative thinking. They can’t after all, get an A on the creative thinking test. They can’t memorize answers or learn metrics for creativity.

Good luck in 2010.

Chris Reich, Creative Consultant