It is Okay To Start From The Beginning

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My last post gave some insight on “Break it Thinking” some of the best “Break it thinkers” are beginners. That’s right the new kid on the block opposed to the seasoned worker are giving some of the best ideas to drive a business to success. That might prompt you to wonder how can a business maintain success when it is not feasible to constantly hire NEW people with new ideas. Well, you do not have to be a beginner to think like a beginner.  There has been many times when I have tried to solve a problem only to have the answer starring me in the face the whole time. Thinking like a beginner challenges you to look at problems with fresh eyes. So where does that leave consultants and experts? Experts and consultants can be of significant use. They are very knowledgeable in their area of expertise, but this same attribute can be a hindrance to a business. Experts know what has worked in the past, so they try to replicate it. There is also a sense of pride and ego that comes with being an expert. An expert knows they have had past successes, so they find it hard to envision that the same technique that proved successful is now outdated or no longer useful or they have a new idea but try to place that new idea in the old system. The author is not suggesting that you recreate the wheel but more so that you find a more efficient option. Below are some ways the author suggests to think like a beginner.

 

  • CLEAN THE SLATE -Start new and question everything. An example of cleaning the slate, is Avon. Avon describes themselves as a social selling beauty company and might I add they are a very successful one, estimated to make 5.7 billion annually but a little known fact about Avon is that their founder started off selling books door to door but was not very successful so he started selling perfume.

 

  • DON’T OVERTHINK IT- The same experts that I mentioned earlier most times try to look for a complex answer to a problem, so much so that they miss the very simple solution. There have been many times when I am looking for something and instead of searching the obvious places, I start moving furniture looking in the most obscure locations. I then find that what I was looking for was in plain sight the whole time. I am from the rural south and my grandmother would always say “If it would have been a snake it would have bit you” meaning it was right in front of you and you did not even see it.

 

  • WELCOME VISITORS- There are two approaches to this technique. Pretend you know nothing about your particular company or situation. Ask very simple and naive questions. The second approach bring actual visitors around. These visitors have fresh eyes. Things that you have been missing are obvious to them.

 

The next time you hit the wall or your ideas have grown stale take a step back, clean the slate, don’t overthink it and welcome new people with new ideas.

7 Replies to “It is Okay To Start From The Beginning”

  1. Caitlin,

    When I started to really start thinking outside the box in regards to certain aspects of my life, particularly entrepreneurship, I find myself developing thought patterns unlike before for many of the reasons you listed. Having a fresh new outlook on things like entering my masters program was a huge help towards me gaining more confidence about how I could really develop a company and make changes in the society I live in.

    I look forward to more of your posts!

    Like

  2. Hi Caitlin!
    I have a painterly version of your post. When I struggle with a painting or even just an idea/problem, I “paint it green.” In college, I had a painting project that had to be turned in. I struggled with the composition, the content, the color, and pretty much everything that makes a painting good was lacking on this canvas. Late at night, the painting due in the morning, I took out a tube of green and painted the entire canvas green. I needed a clean slate. I didn’t over think it, I just grabbed the first color I saw in the box. And then I began anew. I painted well, with fresh eyes and a fresh hand. The idea I tried to wrestle out of the canvas submitted and I was able to create something to present to my peers the next morning. They critiqued this painting they had seen all semester positively and with a new sense of success I learned the value in starting over. Now, when I am in a tight spot and don’t know what to do, I say “I just need to paint it green.” No one else knows what I’m talking about, but it sets my mind to a different way of thinking about the project.

    JOY

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  3. Hello Caitlin,

    I really enjoyed reading your reflection. I definitely think beginners can be sort of “game changers” and I think finding a balance between new ideas and expertise is best for companies to be successful. I have never thought about “thinking like a beginner” but it makes so much sense. It also comes with not having a huge ego. Being able to be reflective in your business practices – you are going to be more open to new changes, people and ideas.

    I look forward to more of your reflections.

    -Mike

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  4. Caitlin,
    Wow, this was a terrific post, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can’t agree more that sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to find the problems that we become blind to over time. It can be so easy to become too accustom to doing things in a particular way, but after a while when external circumstances have changed, there is a clear need to reevaluate to ensure that your organization is competing at an optimized level given the new circumstances.

    I think the key for an organization to maintain it’s optimum capacities is to find a way to continually evaluate and make corrections/ adjustments to their operational approach. This requires a company to be aware and nimble enough to make adjustments quickly to account for evolving circumstances.

    I think this represents a valid argument for the importance of non-traditional work environments. Traditional approaches only work well for a while but will eventually need to be altered. Unfortunately, traditional work environments typically are the most difficult to change due to their inherent conservative nature. Therefore, embracing a non-traditional mode of organization to begin with would eliminate the need to completely restructure the company when obstacles are met.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Zach

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  5. Hi Caitlin,

    I really do like this book and how obvious it makes things. We just recently had a consultant come and she really frustrated me. I felt like she wasn’t interested in helping us find new solutions, she was more interested in us just changing everything to her way. I would agree that it is hard to facilitate change and move programs forward when you have a lot of seasonal managers. I work with a manager that has been in our business for 20 years and when I talk to him about trying something he says “Yea we tried that once, but it didn’t work” and then I get irritated an say that was 15 years ago. I think that this goes back to the personality differences that can arise. Some people never stop moving forward. That would be me. My husband says I will never be satisfied, but I don’t see it that way. Then you have people who will walk by something that is broken 14 times a day and never fix it for 5 years.

    Thanks!

    Like

  6. It is so easy to overlook obvious problems when you have been looking at the same things for years. A fresh pair of eyes is always a good idea. By either looking at users reviews and considering the validity of them or engaging others to try your service and provide you with data later. it is hard being unbiased about our own company.

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  7. I think it is always good to start from the beginning in any situation . Because if its a dog then he will get to know you. If you buy a new washing machine then you will know it has a warranty. If you buy are car then you know its not broken down before. So, I think from the beginning is a good thing.Great post!

    Like

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