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they have had past successes, so they find it hard to envision that the same technique that proved successful is now outdated or no longer useful or they have a new idea but try to place that new idea in the old system.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.