Saturday, January 31, 2009

Think Outside of the Box

It has been a while since people started to talk about this. "Think outside of the box." The origin of this saying was somewhat obscure. But it does make sense in the way that we should not think as usual framework of business or people's concept.

When I was working for a company, the situation was quite opposite. People were trained to think "inside of the box" and so was I. From 1990 - 1996, I had been assigned for inhouse business planning and development. Company's brain position, so to speak. Staff was engaged in executive summaries, new proposals, or studying new proposals from other parts of this organization.

In periodic executive meetings, my department was in charge of producing executive summaries. My bosses were constantly concerning what would be the difference from last time summary. They had their own file of all of past summaries and first step for staff making new summaries was to open the last document from Hard Disk Drive folder. No wonder they could not "think outside of the box".

One day, Jack Welch, GE was visiting. He was relatively short, smiling, kind looking person. It was 2nd time I met him and he remembered me from last time and asked my name and courteously received my business card I offered to him. After the lunch, he was speaking for directors. I could observe his speech. When he speaks, his human like attitude was not changed, but his logic were keen and acute.

I cannot cut and past his speech here, but his point was he appreciate people who propose "to change" what they did in past. He said if one is proposing new idea from past experience, Jack Welch will never accept it.

I sometimes overlap that time Jack Welch speech with one scene in the movie "The Matrix". The hero Neo trying to save their leader Mophias decides to attack military building. It looks like suicidal. Neo's partner Trinity tells Neo "Nobody has ever done like this before". Neo answers back "I know that is why it works."

People tends to think that if it is outside of their box that it does not work. People tends to judge things and hypocritical to the people who try to do things outside of the box. And the people trying to do things outside of the box tends to be discouraged by others laugh at them, criticise them, and tell them it does not work. But, it may be a good sign that we are thinking outside of the box if you encounter people's laugh, criticisms, oppositions, and rejections. There will be people who knows value of our thinking outside of the box and agree with us.


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2 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. gosh, today don't we all need to think out of the box ..?

to think creatively, to think differently and to react to things going on around us .. the opposite to the negativity most people are experiencing ..

Thanks for sharing ..

Shaw said...

Thanks, Hilary for your comment. I believe thinking outside of the box is to challenge the change. The world is changing, environment is changing. If we do not take challenge to change, we will be left behind. That was exactly how I felt in previous employment. Thanks, again.