Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Challenge assumptions and think differently - I ask for 1 second

I would like to ask for one second of your time. Ultimately, you'll be the one to decide whether you'll give that to me. You'll have to weigh, against the potential reward, is it worth that investment of your life, that you will surely never get back.

Often in business we have meetings to develop solutions to any number of challenges or problems, as a team. Increasing revenues and profitability, decreasing costs, and overcoming obstacles along a given path are some simple examples of these problems. I think in most problem solving meetings its healthy to challenge all assumptions and think outside of the box.

Thinking outside the box is hardly a new concept but one which is rarely fully embraced. By our nature, people don't like change. We like definition of our world and take comfort in assumptions like growth is good, costs are bad and computers have keyboards.

Frequently, during these types of meetings I'll throw out ideas and suggestions that seem to challenge these basic assumptions and am often met with a barrage of rejection. However, what people infrequently realize is that I'm not married to the idea I just introduced. Hardly! But my intention is to simply throw it out there and ask people to consider it for a second. Just a brief second. Maybe it spurs a tangental idea. Maybe it's spot on and culling of existing clients, rather than driving for new ones, will lead to greater profitability. Maybe subscribing to a new service will help improve productivity. Or, maybe the iPad is the wave of the future and we DON'T need a computer to have a keyboard for it to be successful.

I don't want to dwell on these considerations for eye tearing hours but if we don't consider them, we can't TRULY be confident we've explored all our options. If they don't fit, let's drop 'em and move on. Not much lost. Maybe some will fit. Maybe some will fit another problem that we're not trying to solve right now. Modern day internet Pioneers have achieved multi-billion dollar success simply by challenging assumptions about how we behave and interact. I'm not remotely asking the same from you. Just a second of your time when we're in a meeting together.

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