When Thinking Outside the Box – Whose Box?
Interesting thing happened last week as a client was reflecting upon how much they wanted to “Think Outside the Box.”
Now, normally when I hear this statement I get all excited about doing something new and out of the ordinary. To take a risk – a calculated risk for sure – and find new ways to do things. These new things or ways should lead to differentiation and greater results.
Well, a funny thing happened along the path to working outside the box. I felt resistance to a number of ideas and thoughts about ways to change how things were being done. I was excited as the visions of significant improvements and greater results were dancing in my head (I know it sounds like I’m talking about Christmas – sorry!) Then I began to truly listen to the blocks and comments about the new ideas – which were not coming from the originator of the statement – Thinking Outside the Box.
I realized we were still playing in their Box rather than another Box where the ideas were flowing rapidly.
This person had a different definition of “Thinking Outside the Box.” Wanting to improve the existing format within the boundaries of their box was their expected outcome. Thus, everyone who helped to create a new vision using a boundaryless box became demotivated and in some cases – tricked.
The morale to this story is before you do any rapid Outside the Box Thinking, you need to truly understand the boundaries being set by the person in charge. I realized this person wanted more of an incremental approach – more of a fine tuning the current – rather than any radical or new idea. Figure out “whose Box will you be getting out with your thoughts?”
This was a case of making assumptions based upon a board statement by the person in charge. Therefore, it is more important to understand their idea of exactly what their definition of “Thinking Outside the Box” will be or is. After learning what they expectations are, you will be able to set the parameters for delivered a solution fitting their scope of the problem.
Not everyone has a command of the languages whereby they can accurately relate their descriptions of ideas, needs and wants. It is our responsibility to ask enough questions to uncover the boundaries or lack of boundaries for creativity, innovation and new or fresh ideas to spring forward.
When you take the time to understand the real or preferred result or outcome, the greater the energy is focused to create it. It energy is applied and the results are rejected – the team takes a hit and can become either frustrated or worst, totally demotivated. Engage others with focused energy and enjoy the results and outcomes every time.
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