Innovation. Originality. Creativity. Each of these is in high demand by companies in our fast-changing world. Frequently we are charged with assisting our client to understand her customers better, and to find a new methodology; a new approach that no one has considered before. Or we’re contacted by a new prospect, who states that he values a novel perspective or problem-solving technique. He’s charged with finding a facilitator who will really shake things up. Why, when companies like this seem to have a real desire for change, do their efforts go off the rails?
Often, it is simply the lure of the familiar. There is a certain safety or surety in using a tried-and-true method to seek an answer. The client thinks, “I know I’ve worked with these people before, and they’re good. But I also know the old way of doing things has been effective in the past, and I can be fairly sure of the outcome. If we try something new, how can I be certain it will work? And if it doesn’t work, perhaps I’ll get the blame.” This is compounded by the fact that there are varying levels of risk-aversion in every organization.
So we may win the project, and begin the real work at hand. We start to tighten up the plans for the actual session. Suddenly Team Member Number One wants to “make a few changes”. He or she is higher up than our client, who acquiesces. Then Team Member Two States, “My wife once took a class on this at University. We should do it this way”. A third voice pipes up in the discussion and says, “Perhaps this approach that we’ve used before will work again, why don’t we just use that?” Pretty soon it looks like what they’ve been doing all along. Deadlines are looming. So they decide the tried-and-true approach will suffice, because everyone can agree on it and it’s been a long day. The problem with seeking safety, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is that “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got”. So how can this be changed?
The answer may be, as Mark Twain also said, in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
It seems it’s time to get your imagination back in focus. Play a game, read a book, take a chance on something new…your imagination will thank you!