What’s with the Box?

What’s with the Box?

Be creative. Think outside the box. Stay in the box. What the heck is this box thing and how did we get into it? And why are always being told to get/be/think outside the box? It’s that situation we are stuck in or old habits. It’s “Groundhog Day” over and over again. In order to make a change, we need to “get outside that box.”

I agree. I have always said that the eight most expensive words in business are “but we have always done it that way.” To break that cycle, we must remove ourselves from the proverbial box and be free to think differently. So this morning, I want to look at how we got into that box and then some thoughts on how we can get out on our own!

I see six reasons why we may have been trapped inside this box. You may be in the box because of all six reasons or just some of them, but you are there because of at least one.

  • We have lost sight of what our customers/supporters/fans really want or need.
  • We let budgets control our innovation and declare things impossible before we adequately investigate.
  • We are trying to please upper management, and therefore stick to what they want to see or hear.
  • The wheel that creates new ideas is broken!
  • We have shifted into the past and cherish those expensive words “the way we have always done it” rather than looking to the future.
  • We have become just plain lazy!

What can we do to get out of that box of mediocrity? One way of thinking and understanding (and is quite profound and true) comes from Steve Jobs. “Focus and simplicity—once you get there, you can move mountains.” (Look at any 12-step program such as AA. Simplicity and focus have saved many a life!) But let’s try to balance that sheet and find six steps toward getting out of that box.

  • First, in each case, you need to identify the issue.
  • Then determine if you really have a problem or just a need for change?
  • Create a game plan and follow it. It needs to be strategic—not complicated.
  • Think globally, making sure in that BIG thinking, you are inclusive and including the local community.
  • Once you get the idea, don’t spend time overthinking it. Don’t second guess yourself. Just do it. Execute NOW!
  • Don’t give up. Just keep going at it if it’s not working.

With this, you should be free of the box. You will also have the tools to identify what puts you in the box and avoid those things!

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