Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Think Outside The Box

Think outside the box. Be creative. Come up with new ideas. Challenge convention. Do something different. Be original. Be unique. Push the envelope. Be cutting edge.

We have all heard the above directions more times than we can count. For many of us, our schooling taught us nothing about challenging convention or being different or doing anything new or creative. We were taught what to think and how to regurgitate facts to answer test questions and then forgot most of what we regurgitated. If we learned how to think, it was usually on our own or in one or two elective classes with teachers who challenged us. 

In our working life, most of us have continued along the path of following the rules, keeping our heads down and getting through the day. We are given sixty page employee handbooks dictating everything from what we can and can't wear to work to what we can and can't say on social media to the many reasons for which we will be terminated. We are expected to work 40 hour weeks, mostly during the hours of 8:00-6:00. We get two or three weeks of "Paid Time Off" to take vacations and use when we are sick. We are expected to be on time every day and make our work the most important part of our life.

After all of this, we are then challenged to think outside of the box or to be creative or to come up with some great idea. The people who are coming up with these great ideas and are being creative, aren't working in organizations with antiquated policies and employee manuals. They are working in organizations who have already been creative on how and when people work. Many of the companies on the cutting edge of their industry are also the companies on the forefront of redefining what work means. 

Just as a factory owner is not going to tell an employee on the line to be creative and come up with new ways to do their job, those of us being challenged to think outside of the box don't want to be treated as if we still work in a factory. 

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