The key to building and nurturing any successful business starts with you thinking innovatively, taking bold ideas and making them real. It relies on your courage to dare – both yourself and others. You need to start to thinking like a Possibility Architect.
I love my job title of Chief Possibility Architect, and I should, as I was the one that created it! I know it’s a small detail but many people comment on it and say that they would love to be different. Like my clients, I don’t play by the rules, I don’t write in-between the lines… I think outside the box & create change. My question to you is, do you?
Do you really think you need to have your job title written in your email footer for it to be reality? My daughter has no email footer and that doesn’t stop her being a global pop star, drama queen, Broadway actress, singer songwriter and occasionally, a piano virtuoso. No, she uses her creativity to invent stuff in her head and off she goes…
Of course that’s ever so easy when you’re 10 I hear you cry, but impossible when you’re a ‘grown up’!
So, do you currently spend your time being an architect of possibility or impossibility? Be honest. How much of your day do you spend looking to be creative, innovative, rule breaker and an opportunity spotter? As you already know, in sales that is key. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of being ordinary...
Let’s be clear, Possibility Architects are not born. They are made over time and formed through constant practice of the right habits. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, clearly shows us that the extraordinary ability used to create and innovate are not special powers reserved for the few. They are available to you too if you choose to practice the right THINKING and take the best course of ACTION.
The reality is that you may be one of those leaders that can outstay your welcome on The Planet of Impossibility! Looking at the impossible does have its place though if it is used appropriately. It can be grounding. It can help plug you back into reality. It offers a sense check. It can be the sign post that warns you to pay attention to the right stuff at the right time. It can be a Jolt if you use it well. However, if it is your dominant thinking style and habit, it can be a barrier on your mission to selling more and play your part in building an extraordinary business.
Here are some of the habits you will need to adopt to start thinking with possibility. You only need to make tiny tweaks to have a significant effect.
Ask the right questions – What do you need to do right now? There is a solution, how can you find it? If you were to remove all the difficulties and issues immediately, how would you proceed? Ask ‘what if’ more than ‘why’. Start your questions with the word ‘Imagine’ or ‘Supposing….’
By asking the right questions, you create a new invention and shift the focus from can’t to can. It tricks the mind. What other open questions could you ask?
Create the conditions that allow you to think – Life whizzes by. Your business decisions may need to be made rapidly. To start THINKING with possibility does require you to create the right conditions, the right time and the right space for people to entertain new ideas. Squeezing this into a 10 minute meeting and turning it into another ‘task to tick off the list’ will not get you what you want. If you really want to build a space full of new ideas, make it important enough. Otherwise, don’t bother.
Watch more Porn. Nah, just kidding. However, you need to fuel your senses and get your idea juices gushing. You need to choose to disrupt your normal routine. You can do this in many ways: take a new route to work, read a paper that you would never choose, listen to a new artist on your iPod, watch a film from a different genre, talk to the person next to you in the queue (not in a stalkerish kind of way!), eat something that you have never had before. You get my drift – shake up your normal! Being a creature of habit will not breed possibility.
Remove your judgment hat. Whilst encouraging those around you to take theirs off too. I frequently see creative ideas stopped very early on by someone hurling in a dose of judgement. Even if you are not immediately convinced by an idea, put your possibility hat on and ask the right questions. Stay curious. Demonstrate this through your tone of voice and the way you listen. Embrace new thinking, creativity and courage.
Wear other people’s shoes. Not stealing them, just stepping into them. Research shows that if you start to think about creating possibilities through the lens that others look through, you will open up new ideas. So, ask yourself, how would Apple tackle this issue? If Google were to be faced with this problem, what would they do next? If we all worked for Disney, how would we look at this differently?
Have a Doodle session. I once worked with a director that encouraged Doodle sessions. We didn’t really have to doodle, although we could if we thought it would help. It was a set period of time, often no more than 3-5 minutes, where we needed to generate new ideas and start afresh. Anything goes. No limits. Blank sheet of paper time. Only once we had done this could we begin making new connections…
Adopting these habits will allow you to live out your new job title as Chief of Possibility. It needs focus though. It requires you to carve out the time and space. No one will come to you tomorrow and give you additional time in your day to be more creative. You have to make it happen yourself.
So, imagine yourself as Chief of Possibility in your organisation….
What would that mean you do differently right now?!
Which of these habits will you take on and test out?
Go on, I dare you….
By Richard Tyler, Chief Possibility Architect at BTFI. He is an international speaker, coach and author. His new book, Jolt, published by Capstone Wiley hit the shelves in April.