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The Solution Is Finding New Answers

In the beginners mindNo matter what the industry every leader is facing new challenges. These are not the same old challenges of yesterday so the same old solutions will not meet today’s challenges.

Market’s are getting smarter. Competitors are getting smaller and employee’s are expecting more than a pay check as the reward for a job.  Customers are expecting instant feedback and customization. Reorganization isn’t the answer. A new mission statement isn’t the answer. Forming teams to solve your problems isn’t the answer. Bringing in the “change experts” isn’t the answer. Hiring a social media guru isn’t the answer.  Leveraging more technology to do more of the same things at less cost isn’t the answer.  So what is the answer?

The answer begins by realizing that very things that used to make you successful are the same things that are holding you back today.

The Solution Is Finding New Answers

A Fast Company article titled “How Your Own Expertise Is Holding You Back” by Mark McNeilly states : “How are entrepreneurs able to create new companies and inventors capable of bringing new products to market? It’s because they avoid accepting the way things are in their industry and instead see what might be. It’s because they have shoshin, or, “beginner’s mind.”

Shoshin is a Zen Buddhist concept that means “having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject.” Shunryu Suzuki, the Zen master who wrote the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, summed up the philosophy well by saying, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

“As Suzuki implies, the expert faces the challenge of knowing too much. She knows what works and what doesn’t. He knows what’s been tried and why it didn’t work. Unfortunately, by accepting these things as givens, they cannot see what is possible. Only someone who views things with a “beginner’s mind” can imagine what could be if the assumptions are challenged.”

If we approach every challenge through the filter of previous solutions gained from past experience and education then we are not likely to find learn anything new needed to create new solutions.

Most leaders believe they made it to the top because of their experience, knowledge and past success. The problem with that assumption is today is no longer a reflection of the past. Everything is new and subsequently it requires a new way to think about everything.

The answers come from what could be rather than what has been.

Read Original Article at The Relationship Economy

Gary Hunt's picture

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Wilmot McCutchen's picture
Wilmot McCutchen on May 20, 2013 6:04 pm GMT

Seeking comes before finding.  Established industry leaders are not seeking.  They have an inventory of the old stuff and customers who want business as usual, so what’s the motivation for finding new answers?  New is bad.  Wall Street accounting punishes expenditures for R&D and rewards managers who cut costs.  Government is staffed by industry experts and trainees who expect a job in industry, so don’t expect ambitious seeking from programs like ARPA-E.  The hostile incumbents and their enablers in finance, academia, and government feel threatened by disruptive innovation, so they are not really seeking new answers.  But history teaches us to hope as it teaches them to fear.  Steve Wozniak’s plywood personal computer was sneered at by the priesthood of stupidity.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on May 21, 2013 12:49 pm GMT

For over 40 years I’ve tried to keep up with a small part of technology and market changes. Perhaps I’m getting old, or perhaps good changes are happening even faster than before. And perhaps some with radical concepts are more inflexible than those with evolutionary concepts.

I read a nice interview with a Shell VP about their biofuels effort (renewableenergyworld.com). Contrary to some opinions, remarkable evolution is happening to expand compatible renewable fuels.

Playing with computers, the ancient concept of a dumb terminal linked to a smart mainframe computer remains at the heart of the remarkable Linux multitasking operating system that is developing faster than I can follow.

And frustrated by the difficulty connecting a PC to a small microcontroller development board by the old serial port, I’m excited that the new Arduino Uno Rev.3 board offers just that philosophy using USB serial modeled from RS232 serial (for $30 including more free software than I’ll ever understand in a global dialog). The old dialup modems were just such computer boards with a telephone interface.

And forget about protein design. Already a complex science in 1980, I can barely understand today’s tools.

The biggest threat today is misdirected change. Carelessly investing years and a $trillion because screaming mobs demand it is a big concern. We need to be smart in a much smarter world.

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