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At Work Situations

When a client tells you they’re thinking outside the box, why does that make you cautious?

I am leery of the cliche value of “thinking outside the box”. I think it has been said so much. That nobody really, everybody knows what it means, but nobody really thinks about it in successful terms anymore. This phrase, “thinking outside the box” was popularized by the guy who created Disney University and he was a mentor to Walt Disney, and to a Buckminster Fuller, and he even worked for a while as an older man with Steve Jobs. But he popularized this term and it’s just a killer term. It’s great. I mean “thinking outside of the box”-  it says exactly, I mean, you know exactly what it means. However, I think it’s day is done as a differentiating factor for a team or a company or small business or family. I think it has been said to death and I think that people, I guess don’t pay that much attention to it anymore. Let’s put it this way. In the past five or six years, I don’t know if I have ever worked with a company or interviewed a team or been with any of these people that haven’t said at one time or another. You know, we really pride ourselves at “thinking outside the box”. We like our people with things out of the box. So, you know, we’re looking for leaders to “think outside of the box”. You know, we want teams to “think outside the box”. You know what we want to, I just like really, I don’t even think people are thinking through what they’re saying anymore and in reality, knowing what that phrase means in reality, if we all find ourselves outside the box, doesn’t that mean that nobody’s outside the box anymore?

If we’ve all ended up in the same place, which is what happens, you know, “thinking outside the box”, it used to mean coming to a different understanding, thinking in a different direction to get a different result. Well, you can think that way and you can get that different result. But unless you continue to think that way, people catch up very quickly. And what I find now is that people are all just kinda sitting around outside the box.

If Moses had had more time on the mountain, I think he would have come back with 11. Because I think that the 10 commandments, if they had been the 11 commandments, I think the 11th would have been, thou shalt not kid thyself. And I think a lot of people kid themselves with this outside of the box saying, I think it’s time to gobeyond the box, beyond outside of the box. Now where do you go when you get beyond, well beyond? Is there an end to that? No, but, but boy, there seems to be an end outside the box. People get outside of the box and they proud of it and they sit down and there they are. And so we need to go beyond, we need to think beyond, if you’re going to have an opportunity for extraordinary results, don’t think he’ll say the boys. You want to think way outside of town…outside of the town that has the industrial complex, in which the factory is there that is building the boxes, has everybody else’s sitting around outside of, you want to be way beyond that. Okay. Way. Beyond.