A Lesson in Strategy and Innovation from a Crazy Dog
About 3 minutes to read
Two coinciding events occurred last week leading to this post. The first was unexpectedly meeting a much admired and respected previous boss and the second was viewing an extremely funny video of a crazy bulldog.
What do these two events have in common? Let me tell you.
As I chatted with my ex-boss, I remembered all the hours my previous team and we spent together in meetings and discussions about strategy and innovation. The department and team mandate was to find the next “big thing” and make it commercially viable and successful. This was, and remains, an extremely challenging, often frustrating, yet rewarding mandate.
Moving on to the video, it is a story of a dog trying to do something he knew in an innovative yet unsuccessful way. Watch video here
How do these two seemingly unrelated events converge?
In my corporate life, I remember how each day we tried to create new strategies and innovations sometimes without much success. I could identify with this crazy bulldog, running hither and thither and I realised the answer was and is very simple:
What would have happened if Diesel (the dog) simply let go of that box? Perhaps he would have dashed off to follow his masters’ command and then been able to return to his new distraction. Yet he could not.
He knew that he needed to obey but was sightless and therefore without perspective and vision. There was no clarity of direction; each attempt a dead end and in the worst case, he could have become injured.
When offered help he stubbornly refused it, continuing on his way, convinced that perhaps, his strategy would miraculously work out.
In business, as in life, how often do we refuse to let go? The industrial revolution has passed and most modern jobs require people to think strategically and innovatively and yet sometimes we are quite mechanical and rudimentary in our thinking.
I have participated in countless meetings and discussions in my life observing how others and I strongly hold onto our point of reference, arguments, judgements, beliefs etc. This is “normal” for us mortal human beings, and yet..
To create a winning strategy or innovation we need to start with our thinking. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This is all about letting go.
People often credit Steve Jobs and Apple Inc with strategic and innovative genius and yet this is not true. Steve knew how to change his way of thinking and look at things differently. He was able to take existing products such as the PC, mp3 player, camera, telephone, watch, and look at them from a different perspective. He let go of conventional thinking and asked the same questions differently. He was not afraid of “what if”
If you are looking to create a new strategy or develop an innovation today, ask yourself what limiting thoughts, ideas and beliefs are in your way. Are you limiting your progress by holding onto old paradigms? Could you look at the same situation from a new perspective? Is there anything that you need to let go?
Take a moment to create some space for yourself in your thinking. I do this exercise with all my clients before we work together. Our minds constantly clutter with millions of parallel thoughts and we thrive on multitasking and loose our presence in the current moment.
Clearing the space mentally is an exercise of focus, where we consciously set aside all thoughts that distract from the issue at hand.
Take the moment to let go of limiting beliefs, old ideas, or reasons why you cannot move forward. Become focussed in your mind and choose to change the way you look at things.
Choose to let go, it could lead to some amazing innovations!