Growing Edge

Creativity and the Hairball

And why this metaphor sticks with you.

Why should a pastor read a book written by a "corporate holy man"? Well, the great metaphor in the book's title, the quirky doodles, and beautiful graphic treatment are reason enough. Plus, this just might be the best book you'll ever read on leading creative people and developing creative ministry: Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace (Viking, 1998).

Author Gordon MacKenzie spent 30 years as a writer and artist at Hallmark Cards. To an outsider, a greeting card company would seem to be an environment where creativity was encouraged. Not so, says MacKenzie. It was at Hallmark that he encountered his first "Hairball," that tangled, sticky, impenetrable mass of rules, systems, and prescribed processes that sooner or later stifles creativity in corporate life, including churches.

The Hairball phenomenon is especially problematic when you consider that those who create are every organization's ...

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