It is unfortunate that too many people start all planning, or problem solving, exercises with the apocryphal greeting of the Wild West Native American, Hau!
How do I improve my skills, how do I get promoted, how can I get a higher salary, how can I find something better? Whilst they are questions in need of a definite answer, searching in the wrong place leads to damaging conclusions, and over time this creates an apathy that not only stifles innovation, but also damages your reputation.
The successful questions used by dynamic people; the kind that deliver true innovation are best represented by think 25! This dynamic strategy has its roots in our everyday alphabet. It refers to the humblest 25th letter of our alphabet, Y.
Why you, your colleagues, or your customers, want something is far more fundamental to its success that how. If you start with how you will likely only arrive at the same conclusions as your competitors, and that means keeping up with the Jones' at best. Now that might be all you want. Perhaps you don't want to be leading the field?
That is your first, starter-for-10 WHY question.
Do you want to be a leader in your field? Is it important for you to develop a reputation for innovation and excellence? There is no shame in answering, no. But consider for a moment why you started your career, what were your ambitions and have they faded over the years? Will you just accept the tarnished reality or would you like a springboard to that original cherished vision? Think about it, if you could recreate that initial drive and ambition with your current hard won business acumen, what would happen?
To those content with the status quo, go our best wishes, with a hope that you might one-day follow.
We, who have reignited our passions have an exciting road before us. The first question for our leading party is where are we going? What will we find when we get there and what kind of journey can we expect? Remember it may be a long road and you must be sure of each day's benefits. So think carefully.
Great, you have some inspired ideas of where you want to go. Time to think 25. Why do you want to go there, what is your compelling reason for the journey and the destination? If you can't find that reason, you probably don't really need to go there. Start again, do not pass go, and most certainly do not even consider collecting £200 until you have found your compelling destination and reason to go there. Without it, you are too likely to give up when the going gets tough.
Forget all thoughts of how you will get there for the moment. How always comes after why? When you know why, how is easy. These days, with easy access to technical information, you can find out how with relative ease. However, technical information provides instruction, it does not inspire commitment, innovation and motivation.
The first obstacle to your success will be risk; it always is. Being risk averse is apathy disguised caution. Fair enough, minimising risk is a sensible strategy, but that is not the same as excluding risk. Remember innovation is really risk by another name. Even so, the good news is that think 25 is inherently risk conscious. When you understand the benefits clearly you are more committed to making it work and you know how much to gamble.
Our last reason for using think 25 is key. Wherever you are going, you won't get there alone, whether your companions are vision sharing partners, or people hired to carry the bags, they must also be committed to the journey. If your vision is compelling you can persuade others to follow. True, their reasons for doing so will be different to yours, but the excitement generated by a clear vision is contagious. If you become a think 25 convert, you will encourage others to discover their own why.
When they do, their vision and drive will feed your own. The circle is complete.
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