• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

To think outside the box…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 23, 2013


…step outside the box.

I have seen several senior executives repeatedly urge their employees to think outside the box. A million minutes each year are spent in meeting rooms to cultivate this thinking in a company and its approach. Sadly, the outcome in most instances is limited to a few momentary flashes of brilliance and then a return to routine.

Most members of leadership teams fail to realize that simply urging their employees to stretch their imagination is just not enough. It is equally important to reveal to them what the ideal state looks like. I cannot expect the manager of a production line in India to meet the expectations of a customer in France unless I have established a channel of communication between the two.

The Innovation Circle at one of the companies I worked with was immensely fruitful. The key to their success was the exposure that the company provided to its employees. Every month, trips were arranged for the line operators. While some of the visits were to other factories in the district, others were fun excursions to neighboring tourist hotspots. The idea was to step outside the factory and expose our senses to something other than the sight and sound of our factory. There was something to be learnt from everything outside. And that learning reflected in the cost reduction and innovation projects that the workers implemented back at work.

The same applies to senior executives. They cannot evolve and innovate until they keep themselves informed about the changes occurring in the business eco-system around them.

No radical change in thought or approach inside is possible without witnessing an equally radical change outside.

To think outside the box, step outside the box.

5 Responses to “To think outside the box…”

  1. Marissa said

    Reblogged this on At the Car Lot and commented:
    Telling v/s Doing. Good managers should always show and do in helping their employees master new skills.

  2. Irunsolo said

    One other point I think is critical is to relay to the employees, at the same time, the idea that thinking out of the box, but moreover sharing that out of the box mentality, is safe…from ridicule, from bias and judgement. Without that safety net, only the extreme risk takers will engage the environment outside the box.

  3. Vishnu said

    Innovation is indeed a hot topic in all industries now a days. In all the corporate meetings I had been, all that the top executive guys do is asking us ‘regular Joes’ to take initiative and bring in new innovative ideas. What most of them fail at is to inspire us to do so. A leader is not someone who tells others what to do, but the one who inspires them into action by example.

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