You’ll find you have at least one self-proclaimed devil’s advocate in every creative group. And whoever they are, they’re damn proud of it because in their mind they serve an incredibly important role.

They see themselves as the voice of reason. The anchor of common sense. They are intelligent, grounded and have the keen ability to see things from 30,000 feet. They will keep the group and the mission from veering off course and falling off a cliff.

They’ll pick, pick, pick at things you may have never considered. It’s their purpose for being. Their role in the group.

They’ll prevent you from doing anything stupid. Or foolish. Or outrageous.

Here’s one more thing they’ll prevent you and the group from doing: something great.

It’s a million times easier to shoot an idea down than it is to come up with one. If you habitually crush acorns, they can never grow into towering oaks. And if you do kill or criticize something, help to find a relevant solution.

I don’t have a problem with caution. Caution is good in the world of business.

But don’t be a devil’s advocate. It means you’re working for the Devil.

And the Devil has no role in a democracy.

“The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” — William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice