Provocative Propositions

In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.

In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.

The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.

Simply click on the category and read away.

Embracing New Mindsets
Help. I'm trapped in this box. Sure, the top's wide open, but every time I get out of the box, I find that I'm in another box.

The worst part is that I can hear voices. They keep shouting "get out of the box". So I muster up all of my strength, take a running jump at the wall, convinced this is the last box. But it isn't. I'm just in yet another box with a group of colleagues, trying to get out.

It is the sad reality of life that for many people (and their organizations) nothing they do ever seems to work. They are just stuck.

John Naisbitt may have the answer. The father of mega trends, in his book, "Mindset", helps tackle the issue of innovative "out of the box" thinking once and for all. He proposes that if you look at things a certain way, in your mind, you won't even see the boxes that confine you.

Sure it sounds radical (out of the box even) but, isn't that what you're looking for anyway?

Organizations have to realize they can spend all the time in the world coming up with exciting new ways to approach the decision making and innovation process, but until they truly spend time changing the way they view their world, and the world around them, their efforts will all be for not.

These 4 Walls

Organizations everywhere (at least those not lucky enough to be born a Google or an Apple) has been struggling for years to find ways to instill an ethic of innovative thinking into their workforce. In far too many instances, the emphasis has been on improving the effectiveness of their brainstorming activities. Research has shown, however, that the most effective "phase" of the thinking process may lie at the very beginning - in what is called the "framing" stage.

Naisbitt takes it even one step further, and teaches a new method of approaching the framing stage by adopting new mindsets.

Solid Foundation

Think of mindsets as the foundation of the box. In many cases the foundation is a foot thick and made of solid concrete. The worst part is, if you look down, you'll find that your feet are embedded in the concrete (no wonder you can't get out).

The answer is to crack up the foundation, so the walls fall down by themselves.

Pick a Lens, any Lens

The central part of Naisbitt's approach lies in his proposition that the thinking process shouldn't be limited to just one mindset. Instead, he has developed eleven different ways of looking at the world. This should be a breath of fresh air for organizations that have adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to their thinking, and have failed.

The idea is to free your thinking, and just let your mind flow.

Big Box

In the best selling book The Power of Impossible Thinking, author Jerry Wind suggests that in order to keep your mindsets relevant, you must zoom in and out, to make sense of your world. By combining this "helicopter thinking" principle with Naisbitt's principles or mindset, you will be far more likely to have success, because you will see both the forest and the trees.

Ask yourself:

What industry are you in?

Is that a box?

What is your organization's mission statement?

Is it too limiting - is it another box?

How open to change is your CEO?

Is he a box?

Just like you would approach a good magician's "magic" tricks - with a healthy dose of rational thinking - so too should you approach your organizations mental models. In the immortal words of Kriegel and Patler, if it ain't broke - break it.

Go ahead, look behind the curtain, see (for once) what is really going on. Only then can you change your mindset. Only then can you begin down the road to innovation.

In Our Opinion

The Beacon Group's keys to adopting new mindsets.

Set Expectations - one of the biggest failures in organizations, when it comes to adopting innovation, is for leaders to emphasize massive change. Change can be quick, but changing mindsets can take longer.

Set out the New Rules - in order for this new approach to be successful, the message must be pervasive. Everyone must understand the new approach, and live it everyday.

Settle in - adopt the mindset that keeping mindsets relevant is crucial to success. If an insight from one mindset renders another obsolete, embrace it.

Set an Example - sacred cows make the best burgers. As a leader, your job is to keep the grill hot, and make sure there are plenty of napkins.
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