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How to think outside the box in the workplace

by O. S David
How to think outside the box in the workplace

How to think outside the box in the workplace 

Thinking outside the box means a complete paradigm shift. Just as obsolete equipment cannot deliver maximum efficiency so is a worker with obsolete ideas, methods and processes. It is time to sharpen the saw and explore alternative ways of addressing issues.

There are five out of many ways to ensure this:

1.    Set out by defining what you want to achieve and expand your inner circle. Get books, search for resources, make new friends, adjust your network, step outside the confines of your profession, industry and geographical territory. Be deliberate and willing to go all out for the topics that interest you. Whatever you do, keep an open mind. Let your imaginations travel wide. Think through, think deep, think round to unravel new archetype for doing things in the workplace. This presupposes that you are willing to set aside familiar patterns and embrace creativity.

Get books, search for resources, make new friends, adjust your network, step outside the confines of your profession, industry and geographical territory. Be deliberate and willing to go all out for the topics that interest you. Whatever you do, keep an open mind. Let your imaginations travel wide. Think through, think deep, think round to unravel new archetype for doing things in the workplace. This presupposes that you are willing to set aside familiar patterns and embrace creativity.

2.    Seek opinions of people that are unfamiliar with your internal daily routine or the full details of your workplace requirement. Sometimes they are lower in education or experience. This helps you see from a layman or public or customers’ perspective of what acceptable alternatives may look like. You can ask probing questions from your driver, children, janitor, or even the customers using a survey. Although a child or cleaner will not be able to solve your problem, they can inspire you with some valuable ideas that you will have to develop and implement. Others can see the pyramid from another angle different from what you are used to.

Sometimes they are lower in education or experience. This helps you see from a layman or public or customers’ perspective of what acceptable alternatives may look like. You can ask probing questions from your driver, children, janitor, or even the customers using a survey. Although a child or cleaner will not be able to solve your problem, they can inspire you with some valuable ideas that you will have to develop and implement. Others can see the pyramid from another angle different from what you are used to.

3.    Learn from your mistakes. The best also makes mistakes. All of us do. When mistakes happen, it is not to be taken as a humiliation. Whatever did not work, didn’t because it was one among the options not suitable for the concept or ideas that you are testing. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries to invent the light bulb, yet he kept learning how to do it better until the result was achieved. What you need is a positive, resilient and tenacious mindset that will drive you towards the growth, change and development you seek in the workplace. Mistakes are a very brilliant tool for learning and continuous improvement. If you don’t try, you will never have opportunities to tell a story of how it should or it should not be done. Do yourself a

The best also makes mistakes. All of us do. When mistakes happen, it is not to be taken as a humiliation. Whatever did not work, didn’t because it was one among the options not suitable for the concept or ideas that you are testing. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries to invent the light bulb, yet he kept learning how to do it better until the result was achieved. What you need is a positive, resilient and tenacious mindset that will drive you towards the growth, change and development you seek in the workplace. Mistakes are a very brilliant tool for learning and continuous improvement. If you don’t try, you will never have opportunities to tell a story of how it should or it should not be done. Do yourself a favor, be better with mistakes not bitter!

4.    Unlearn your previous concepts, ideologies, work methods or formular.

Assume a new start for the discovery you are trying to make. If you carry on with the knowledge you have acquired in the process of time, opportunities will keep passing you by. You cannot think outside the box to effect change. Maintain a position that “improvement can happen to anything in anywhere for any reason”. You have just resumed a new job, relocated your business to a new environment, prospecting a new venture or customer, check out what works. Don’t try to superimpose old thread on a new fabric! Don’t be afraid to start again.

Assume a new start for the discovery you are trying to make. If you carry on with the knowledge you have acquired in the process of time, opportunities will keep passing you by. You cannot think outside the box to effect change. Maintain a position that “improvement can happen to anything in anywhere for any reason”. You have just resumed a new job, relocated your business to a new environment, prospecting a new venture or customer, check out what works. Don’t try to superimpose old thread on a new fabric! Don’t be afraid to start again.

5.    Sometimes you need to break away from your busy schedule to meditate in quietness. Observe nature, travel to another destination, old or new. Everything in creation tells us something if we are careful to observe it, decode it and adopt it.

Observe nature, travel to another destination, old or new. Everything in creation tells us something if we are careful to observe it, decode it and adopt it.

How come four-footed animals run faster than the two-footed ones, then you have an automobile on four legs different from a bicycle or tricycle.

What makes birds stay up and maintain stability in the air without the law of gravity bringing them down? Then you have planes and aircraft navigating the airspace.

The rain that falls from the sky, where does it go? Then you have wells, boreholes and other extractive activities.

Why do ants gather uninvited around sugar? Then you have customer growing model in place. “Promo”, “Bonanza”, “Buy-one-Get-One-Free”, “Clearance sales”, “More for less money” these are the things you see.

It is no magic, with a deep thought on nature and common experiences around you, you can think outside the box. Rest is work if it leads to greater productivity! – Deborah David @workplacechannel

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Deborah David
Versed in workplace matters, career, parenting, financial and educational counselling.

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