Get Past Your Disbelief in New Possibilities to Break Through to Exponential Improvements
People usually underestimate the potential value of the most important new information, technology, and ways of operating. This error occurs because the new information or resource unexpectedly makes untrue what has been undeniably true in the past. This essay looks at ways to seize advantages by appreciating the importance of new factors sooner than other people do.
DISBELIEF: See Beyond Limited Imagination and Blind Spots
The disbelief stall is based on a valid experience, lack of relevant experience, or a previously established circumstance that no longer pertains. The bigger the new idea, the more likely it will boggle the minds of those involved.
Consider this: Over a hundred years ago, Alexander Graham Bell supposedly offered his fledgling telephone business to Western Union for $100,000. Western Union reportedly turned him down cold, perceiving the telephone as an electrical toy with a limited future. Bell himself initially saw the telephone as limited to use as a substitute for town criers. Householders wondered, "Why get a telephone when I can step outside and talk to my neighbor over the back fence?" The airplane, radio, computers, and the photocopier were greatly underestimated in similar ways before becoming the foundations for major industries. Major breakthroughs change the possibilities of how we can lead our lives, and we are slow to see that undeveloped potential.
Creative People with Different Viewpoints
In checking out new information, technology, and techniques, seek the help of people who enjoy creating new solutions. You may find these open-minded people among suppliers, new employees, customers, and outside experts, including academics. If you don't have enough such people to draw on, expand your circle of acquaintances.
In the same way that no two people have identical kinds of curiosity and imagination, organizations likewise differ in how they look at potential new solutions. You can easily imagine that Intel, Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, and Disney would take quite different approaches to addressing the same opportunity. You should examine your organization's personality and orientation to consider how your perspective can be expanded in useful ways, perhaps by adding new partners and new competencies.
Positive Thinking Starts the Exponential Progress Engine
To overcome the disbelief stall, you need a positive outlook. You have to believe that wonderful results are just around the corner, if only you keep looking for improvements.
Ask yourself a positive question about any possibility you consider. For example, imagine that you are being asked to use a computer in a totally different and more difficult way for the first time. Instead of fighting this new assignment, ask yourself how the task could help you get home sooner every night. A manager recently had a good experience from opening himself up to this opportunity. An IT expert noticed that the manager didn't know how to do a mail merge, a way to produce custom documents for many people on a list. At first, the manager resented the few minutes of unexpected training. But the attitude soon changed after many monotonous tasks were accomplished 20 times faster.
Iit's even more helpful if you adopt new beliefs that open the doors to possibility. A good example is that many people will never read this book because they think it's far-fetched to find even one 2,000 percent solution. A better belief to hold is that untapped 2,000 percent solutions abound in your most important opportunity areas.
Other helpful attitudes include:
• Seeing roadblocks as opportunities in disguise
• Feeling that all events occur to help you improve
• Believing that large changes can be made quickly to create positive results
• Being convinced that new technology can easily remove old limitations
• Believing that high goals are more fun to pursue
Locate Blind Spots
The more often you hear about something, the more likely the new thing is to be relevant to your organization. It helps to seek out the new to speed up the process of appreciating what's going on. To help identify your organization's blind spots, ask yourself the following questions:
• What customer complaints are you downplaying?
• What things are your competitors doing that you have decided to ignore?
• What things are the communities you do business in talking about that you have ignored so far?
• What requests for change have you been receiving from employees for at least two years?
• What perceptions about your organization and industry are you not addressing?
Evaluate the Implications of the Blind Spots
Ask yourself these questions about your blind spots:
• Which blind spots are in areas where your organization's actions can improve or worsen your situation?
• What actions are needed to gain the most benefit or avoid the most harm?
• When are actions needed to be most effective?
• What evidence will show that immediate action is needed?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donald Mitchell is CEO of Mitchell and Company, a strategy and financial consulting firm in Weston, MA. He is coauthor of six books including The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The Portable 2,000 Percent Solution, and The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook. You can read about his work on improving effectiveness at: http://www.2000percentsolution.com .