Thinking Outside of the Box

April 9, 2020  |  Posted by in Leadership Development

Humans are creatures of habit. If we find ourselves in a new situation or faced with a new dilemma, we quickly try to “normalize” it. We try to fit it into our existing routine and our “same old way of thinking” because that’s what we know—and it takes much less effort to make sense of something by incorporating it into a knowledge framework that already exists than to try and create an entirely new way of thinking, or new routine, around it.

By forcing new things to fit into our existing schematics, routines and habits, we limit our ability to innovate. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating for our world and has upended our lives, perhaps a positive outcome is that it has forced us to think outside the box in both our personal and professional lives! As sales leaders, we are having to come up with innovative ways to manage our teams and talk with customers. At Carew, our sales teams are having positive conversations with customers we never would have had if not for the circumstances ushered in by the pandemic.

In our personal lives, social distancing has required us to get quite creative! For example, instead of Taco Tuesday at the local Mexican restaurant, we are discovering new recipes so we can make our own favorite Mexican dishes at home and “share” them with our friends via Taco Tuesday Zoom parties.

Thinking outside the box is hard because it requires more effort than the alternative of fitting something into our already established way of operating. However, the most important point to be made here is that some of the “new ways” we’re discovering are better than the ways we used to do them! Without being forced to think outside the box, we may have never discovered there’s a “better” way.

The physical and mental health of ourselves and others is the most important consideration we should be focused on, and if taking each day one step at a time is all you can do to get through, that’s okay! But some food for thought is that the current state of today’s world provides this good reminder for us: the potential always exists to think outside the box! We don’t have to wait for a situation, like the pandemic, to force us to make it happen. With every new situation or dilemma we encounter, we always have the opportunity to make the proactive and intentional choice to develop new processes and new ways of thinking instead of relying on the status quo.

“But out of limitations comes creativity.” – Debbie Allen

“Every problem has a creative solution.” – Donna Karan

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