Do you and your teams wonder enough? The question I’m asking is deeper than it appears. I was listening to a group of seasoned business owners talking about the challenges they are facing as they build their companies. More than one indicated that individual and organizational complacency were the biggest issues.
Up until that moment, I had always viewed complacency as a cause of other problems and circumstances. For whatever reason, right then, I looked at it as a symptom.
That allowed me to get around to the other side of the problem. After some back and forth discussion, I concluded that they were suffering from a lack of thought-pattern disruption.
I shared that a friend of mine had once told me, “In five years, you’ll be exactly where you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Obviously, what he meant is that unless we consciously do something to change our thinking, we will be stuck where we are.
Let’s face it. We all know people who graduated from school and proceeded to live in a time-warp where nothing appears to ever change. Like a version of “Groundhog Day,” they see the same friends in the same places and have the same conversations about the good old times. They appear to be allergic to maturing and growing up.
When I went deeper into these business owners’ issues, I discovered that their feelings of complacency came mainly from operating in set habits.
That lead to a breakthrough. To have regular thought-pattern disruption, they had to examine their mental models. We had to find a way to help them view their world differently. We had to get behind the obvious to get to the core thought process.
One way of doing that is to ask yourself a simple question that starts “I wonder…” We all know that many positive discoveries have come from a simple zero-based inquiry. Can you and your team develop the habit of asking more questions and questioning more assumptions?
One way is to develop the mantra “Discover every day.” This is a powerful way to remind yourself and your staff that learning and growing is a choice. It is a scenario that you can move toward or run away from.
The SCAMPER Technique
Another technique that can be used to start this creative-thinking process involves the acronym SCAMPER, developed by Bob Eberle. Here are some examples.
S stands for substitute.
How can you substitute one thing for another or develop alternative uses?
C stands for combine.
What pieces, parts, or issues can be combined differently? A stands for adapt. How can we change the nature of the challenged item/issue?
M stands for modify/distort.
What, if modified, would allow us to better meet more of the needs?
P stands for putting to other purposes.
What other uses/issues could benefit from this being added or made available?
E stands for Eliminate.
What, if eliminated, would allow us to better meet the needs? What, if not eliminated, would cause us to lose our competitive positioning?
R stands for Rearrange or Reverse.
How would doing something in the reverse order pan out?
There are many other examples of innovative idea-generating approaches. The real question is: can you easily adopt an approach that allows you to apply them to your real world? I hope so. Now go do something differently today.
This article is republished from American Executive Magazine