Good Monday Morning!
“Think inside the box.”
Yes, you did read that correctly.
Think inside the box. While away on holidays in Australia, I saw this on a store sign. It made me stop and think. I have said, and you have heard a thousand times, to “Think outside the box.” I understand what is being encouraged, however many professionals struggle with this concept.
The challenge with asking professionals to think outside the box is, a whole lot of people will suggest they are not wired that way. I would agree. Not everyone is a non-linear thinker, hence why many employees will self-diagnose that they cannot be innovative or creative.
Here is an alternative and a more practical concept. Start thinking within the structure that you already work within. Why is that? I am writing this in the Qantas airport lounge watching all kinds of stuff happening around the Boeing 747 that I am about to spend 16 hours on. If I ask the pilots, ground crew, air traffic controllers to think outside of the box, then there is probably going to be chaos. There are dozens of professionals thinking “inside” the plane, following well thought out procedures and systems that have been optimized, ensuring that we have a safe and enjoyable flight.
Encourage yourself and your team to start thinking inside their boxes. Encouraging all of us to think will give the momentum for everyone to do better. A thousand people thinking within the Qantas box, is one of the reasons they have never, ever, ever had a fatal jet accident. They are the only major airline with that stat (which, to be frank, made me slightly nervous to fly with them- that is a statistical impossibility to have that kind of record…).
I am not saying that we shouldn’t think outside the box, but I am recommending that you apply the 80/20 rule. 80% of your energy should be focused on small incremental steps in making things better and 20% on the truly breakthrough concepts.
Shift the focus to inside verses outside; where the majority of us live, work and make a difference.
Think everywhere and always…
The box (and your boss) will thank you..
Thinking inside and outside the box, along the road with you!