44 Change Your Mindset…

by | Feb 13, 2012 | Facilitate meetings, Innovate

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 44 Mindset can be a major obstacle to successfully tackling challenges… “Professor Douglas Hartree told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that would ever be needed in Britain could be done on the three digital computers which were then (1951) being built.” Lord Bowden   Is your mindset an obstacle to finding solutions? Imagine this. It’s 6.00 a.m. in a small hotel. You’re creeping down the back stairs to go for a run (OK that’s probably fused your imagination circuits). Half way down, you stumble over a young guy sitting on the stairs in his underpants. He looks at you but doesn’t say anything. You look at him and think “he must have just got back from a run and is cooling down.” You nod at each other in that polite British way and you head off for your run. Yes. That was me last week in Lincoln. Never mind that he was in his underpants (making the assumption they were his) and was otherwise naked, I thought he’d just got back from a run. Thirty minutes later I returned and “Underpants Man” was still there. We looked at each other. He didn’t speak. I asked if anything was wrong. “I’m locked out of my room,” he replied sheepishly. At that point I feel a bit stupid that I hadn’t thought this earlier. I tried to contact hotel staff at the locked reception via intercom (no response) and by telephone, getting no answer. I suggested “Underpants Man” might sit in my room but he refused (was that a look of panic on his face?),...

40 Create Better Solutions…

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 40 Involve people in exploring the problem as well as generating the solution. It is a much more effective way to tackle challenges…   “There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advised”  Gore Vidal ~ Artist Do you find people are reluctant to help you find or implement solutions? A colleague and I were running a pilot course on flexible thinking and communication recently. The client’s people, at times, have to take high risk decisions (i.e. someone might die if they get them wrong). During our pre-course investigations, a member of staff revealed one paradigm in the organisation: that our course was unnecessary because when it mattered, people were just told what to do. No need for creative thinking there. It was a valid point and caused us to reevaluate how we could position the course in the context of the organisation. With a bit of thought we developed a preliminary model with high and low “risk” and less and more “time” on two axes, making our best assessment of where flexible thinking and communication fitted. The model was unfinished and fuzzy. Rather than develop it further, we presented our 2 x 2 matrix as a problem to be explored during the pilot course and asked the delegates to consider it in the context of their organisation. Wow! What I thought would be a 5 minute conversation turned into 30 minutes of really fruitful discussion. We finished with an enhanced model, placing the course firmly in context and justifying the...

39 Consolidate Learning

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 39 A lot of training is ineffective because companies don’t encourage people to consolidate their learning back at work before sending them off on the next course. The learning organisation is useful. The learn and dump organisation is not… “The process of learning requires not only hearing and applying but also forgetting and then remembering again.” John Gray Do you or people you work with find yourself on another training course before you’ve had time to consolidate the last one? Out running the other day I was thinking what training courses I might do this year. It then struck me that perhaps I might spend my time more constructively if I implement some of the things I have learned in the last couple of years. Now that doesn’t mean I have implemented nothing. I use a lot of the facilitation and training material I have learned, in my day to day work. But I know I could use a couple of days to review the course materials and identify some of the subtler points. When it comes to marketing though, I know I have not implemented a number of the ideas I have identified in the self study courses I have bought. In fact I know a couple I haven’t read! That led me to think about the concept of the “learning organisation”. Talking to the Head of Training for a client the other day, he mentioned that he had just sent out a note to fellow attendees on a course he had attended a year before. He asked them...

38 Keep it Simple

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 38 Look to see how you can make things simpler. This can save time and money… “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein Do you find some solutions are a little more complicated that necessary? This week my son was ill and wanted to sleep with his Mum, so Dad slept in his bunk bed some five feet off the floor. Waking in the middle of the night I wanted some water, but was too lazy to climb down the steps. Lying back, I invented a rope and pulley system in my mind on which I could haul up the water sitting in its beaker on the table below the bed. The pulley would screw in to the ceiling and the beaker would sit in a small container to catch any slops as I hauled it up. Thankfully I dozed off to the imagery of little beakers of water gaily jaunting through the air in a very Heath Robinson fashion. The next morning my daughter came in to wake me. I asked her to pass me up the water and explained my idea. “Oh” she said “Andrew has already done that. But he just put a little bucket on the window latch and puts his cup in it.” Hah! I looked at his device and burst out laughing. Obviously I’m Einstein’s “simpler” in his quote. Heath Robinson made a good living for many years by creating caricature drawings of “complex inventions that achieved absurdly simple results” (quotation from BBC site). He believed that many...

37 Check Assumptions

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 37 Check your assumptions if you want to avoid mistakes… “If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.” Orville Wright Are you checking your assumptions sufficiently? It’s likely you make assumptions all the time, consciously or unconsciously. After all, you have to assume when you leave the house a meteorite won’t hit you on the head – otherwise you wouldn’t leave. I was reminded of assumptions at lunch the other day. Chatting to a German student who grew up in Berlin, I mentioned that I had been back there a couple of times since the wall came down, but the city no longer had the frisson of excitement present when I lived there in the seventies – when people imagined that Russian tanks might rumble down the Kurfustendamm tomorrow. There was a momentary pause in the conversation, which puzzled me until I realised later that he had grown up in the Russian zone of Berlin. I made the wrong assumption and once again my foot had an unexpected visit to my mouth. The positive result was that it made me think about the assumptions we make all the time. It appears to me that when tackling challenges there are two types of assumption: The “liberating assumption” – that which frees us to move forward, e.g. “people will read this article” The “blocking assumption” – that which stops us moving forward e.g. “we will never get the resources for this”. So When exploring situations, the creative leader should...

36 Influence Change

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 36 There are a number of reactions people can have to unexpected change in their work. By understanding a model of change, you can influence them  in more effective ways. “Ch-ch-changes.Where’s your shame? You’ve left us up to our necks in it”  David Bowie Lyrics from Changes  Just after six this morning we awoke to a shock wave from (we discovered) an explosion at a distant petrol storage unit. Two hours later, we received a call to tell us that the dance instructor providing the entertainment for our daughter’s birthday party was ill. Two unrelated events, but in terms of unexpected change, they are both a “foreign element” disrupting the status quo of our life. How can creative leaders cope? Time for a model. In this case, the Satir Change Model as shown in the next column. Knowledge of this model and the stage we are in helps us to use appropriate responses to change, so that we can learn and grow from the experience. ©Diagram ~ Steven M. Smith Let’s consider the Satir process using our party situation: Old status quo The party is organised and all is well. Now along comes that “Foreign Element”. Time for… Resistance At this point, there are some standard ways we could resist the foreign element, which may or may not be valid: deny it has happened and hope for a miracle (“Perhaps a parent is a choreographer”); dispute the need for change (“We’ll muddle through”), avoid communication (“Why did we answer that telephone?”); blame others (“Why couldn’t she have got out of her...