William Nowell, President of ValueMatch Plus and Serial Out of the box thinker
Thinking outside the box can often lead to surprising results and at times leave you feeling a little exposed, however it is always a learning experience.
Let’s face it, if you don’t poke your head out from your comfort zone every now and then, you are likely going to miss some great opportunities.
Being a serial, “Out Of The Box Thinker”, I thought I could share a few thoughts and ideas to help you venture out every now and again.
What is “Out of the box thinking”?
Thinking outside the box simply means that you’re willing to consider different solutions and methods for reaching your desired outcome. That is to say: You want to get from point A to point B, but you don’t necessarily need or want to take the tried and true route to get there.
Thinking differently can have a powerful and positive effect on your career or it can be about simply making your breakfast more fun. For instance, I love to eat my cereal with apple juice instead of milk. It’s awesome but most people will never try it. Here’s why you need to try it and think outside the box about a lot of other things in your world.
Question the status quo.
If everyone just accepted things the way they are, then there would never be any innovation or improvement in the world. If Steve Jobs had just accepted that his Sony Walkman was as good as it gets, he might never have delivered the iPod, iPad, iPhone and so on. If he hadn’t thought outside the box, the world could be a very different place.
If you view things as unchangeable, then nothing will ever change for the better. By thinking outside the box and questioning the status quo, you’ll constantly be considering how you could improve an experience, product or service. This allows you to keep growing — and can lead to intelligent and forward-thinking decisions in business.
The world can become very small if you’re close-minded. Thinking outside the box can expand your worldview, allowing you to have greater perspective on the events and happenings in your career (and in life). When you’re willing to consider alternative points of view and ways of doing things, you’ll be more open to a variety of different points of view and potential solutions.
A greater perspective can make you more receptive to different ideas, which means that you won’t be limited by a small worldview. When you’re open to limitless possibilities, the possibilities are endless!
Super-successful companies have a different approach to company culture. For instance, consider the fashion retailer Zappos. It offers employee perks like free food, complimentary wellness services and even an on-site shoeshine service.
On the one hand, it would be easy to dismiss these things as a waste of money and a threat to the company’s bottom line. However, they take the long view. They see that by offering these benefits and perks, they attract and retain better employees. Happy and healthy employees tend to be more productive, loyal and harder-working.
By thinking outside the box with their company culture, they ultimately get a better caliber of employee and work, which makes it well worth the expenditure they put out with these offerings.
More creative problem-solving.
When there are a finite number of ways that things can be done there is a limit to what you can achieved.
Alternatively, when you think outside the box, suddenly there are many more possibilities and opportunities. When you allow for any and every possible solution, you may in fact end up coming up with more creative ways to solve problems.
Consider Mystery Shopping for instance. Did you know that this primitive form of gathering and relaying performance improvement feedback dates back to when milk was delivered by a milkman to the customers doorstep? By dreaming up an alternative to this standard service, Peak Performance MS has developed a Mystery Shopping Alternative and now sales people and companies can get real prospect feedback in real time delivered right to your phone or desktop, moments after a completed a visit. What creative solutions could you come up with if you think outside the box?
It helps you stand out.
Why be a face in the crowd when you were born to stand out? When you are able to approach your business and career from an out-of-the-box point of view, you are in essence allowing yourself to think differently.
The ability to think outside the box in today’s fast moving, information rich world is not an option, it’s a necessity. Take the traditional customer centered sales approach most companies still use. It was developed at a time when we did not even have cell phones, let alone the internet. We don’t use the “MLS book” or even realtors to learn about real estate purchase options any more. Sales professionals who want to add value for prospective clients need to be listeners vs. talkers and reposition themselves as trusted advisors vs. sales people. This requires a whole new mindset, process and skills that require “out of the box thinking”. The moral of this story, don’t be afraid to be different, because it can separate you from competitors and help you stand out in a good way.
No matter what your station in life, a manager, a sales person, an owner of a multi site chain of successful communities one thing is certain: The world is evolving and changing over time. Technology, people’s tastes and all sorts of other factors are constantly changing, and you’ll need to be able to change in kind to remain relevant.
Perhaps one of the most profound effects of thinking outside the box is that it will help you stay adaptable. Your mind won’t be closed off to new ideas or solutions or situations, and therefore you’ll be better able to navigate the ever changing landscape of business.
ValuMatch Sales Skills Boot Camp | May 22nd to 24th : Learn to Listen and Sell Differently and Become More Valuable
This proven sales skills training, will get you started thinking out of the box and in the process, change everything you know about sales and start you on a path to improved personal and professional success.