How much time do you spend “outside the box?”

So, you’re managing all that work, all those interruptions, all those texts and pesky emails.  You get home at some reasonable hour, kind of tired, and needing a recharge.  Sound familiar?

Well, that’s probably because you’ve “wasted” a significant portion of your time on tasks others could have done effectively.  So, where do you get those sparks of genius that could change your company and change the world?

How most entrepreneurs work today

Creative entrepreneurs find niches for their business that are not full of competitors fighting over the last dollar of margin, or niches that are mature and shrinking in size.  They search for areas unexplored, or those covered by companies with less of a vision for quality, service or innovation.

Outside the box? Think of the Titanic tragedy.

Even creative entrepreneurs are often trapped inside the box of their experience.  Recently in a discussion of this very subject in a roundtable of CEO’s, one CEO reminded us of the Titanic tragedy.  She stated that those in charge during the last hours aboard had options probably never considered that could have saved many more lives, given the limited number of life boats available.  She listed several, including pulling up the teak floorboards and throwing them overboard along with the deck chairs and dining tables, all to be used for floatation.  It made us all think that we had never considered such solutions when contemplating that disaster after the fact.

So, how can you create a culture of creative thinking?

[Email readers, continue here…]   With that challenge, we turned as a group to discuss how CEO’s could make a culture of thinking outside of that restrictive box of experience.  We considered adding questions to the interview process that could bring surprising answers from a job candidate, pointing to a creative thinker that might complement the team.

We challenged ourselves as a group to think of answers to problems that a writer of fiction might create, unconstrained by conventional thinking.  We worried over the fact that we may have hired people in the past that fit our image of the proper addition to our core staffs, people with similar experiences and training, constrained by the same experiential thinking as ourselves.

The result could change your life

Our CEO group we left that meeting each more willing to search for talent to help us and our enterprise find creative alternatives that would challenge us, expand our product, marketing, sales and process abilities beyond the constraints of our present definition of our company and its core.

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2 Responses to How much time do you spend “outside the box?”

  1. Hiring, trusting and enabling a team that can support your efforts and push you forward is a critical function of growth as a leader and executive. If you are doing whatever it is because it is just easier to do it yourself, you are doing it wrong and not leveraging your teams properly. If you are mired in right now, you cannot be looking to tomorrow. Great piece Mr. Berkus!

  2. yannis says:

    great piece. but to play devil’s advocate, I would argue that what killed so many ppl on the Titanic wasn’t lack of creativity, but rather a lack of following protocol. 😉

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