It was a well known question from the Charles Dickens character, Oliver Twist. "Please sir, can I have some more?”
How much of what we do in life or business are we constantly either asking or expecting the same thing? For more!. More profit, more production, more effort, more overtime, more pay, more attention etc.
If we were to closely look at our organisational strategy (or even our personal one). What is it saying? What message are you selling? Is it about being in front or getting more?
If we were to challenge our intent, and measure it against the picture of the rat "racing" in a ladder wheel, what would we see? The “more" the rat runs around the wheel the “less" he gets anywhere. Does our strategy or intent therefore provide for real sustainable change, or are we just really contributing to the speed of the wheel. Are we able to think differently or are we just contributing to the "rat race"?
To really make a difference requires different thinking. It was Einstein that said "it requires different thinking to solve a problem, than the sort of thinking that created it”.
So, lets step off the wheel for a moment. What if we started asking for less? What effect would this have on our environment? Not just the physical environment but also the social and even business environment that we operate in. What would it do for our employees? For our family?
What if we were to accept less pay, have less stuff at home, have less things we are trying to achieve, demand less support, work less overtime, demand less of our employees, etc.?
Before you stop reading, thinking I have no idea about economics, just take a moment and put aside our embedded thinking and add up what is really being achieved.
History will show us the cyclic round of boom and bust that all the economies of the world experience whether it be through war or financial greed, however we continue to think we are getting smarter. We analyse the economic statistics and indicators and try and predict the next flow. We even call this "foresight"! We buy and sell hoping to get “more” bigger, brighter, better. But do we get any "more”?
If your success then, is really just a measure of how fast you are spinning the wheel, you are probably only a slave to the wheel.
If we really want to encourage or express true innovation then we have to introduce some disruptive thinking. Are there conventions that we simply will not question because they are so embedded.
Spinning the wheel faster or trying to predict the next “cycle" of the wheel rotation is far from innovative. Everyone else is there already and having your people taking turns at the wheel does not provide any value for you or them.
Start looking for the “wrong answers” (unthinkable) and you might just stumble upon a right one. Stop looking at your life and business the way everyone else looks at it. Be really innovative. Even engage your people in the process. It may just be the differentiation your looking for.
People might think your stupid. They may even think you are careless but robustly challenging where your headed is not careless but "considered".
Your critics will most likely be the creatures on the wheel!
What is "more", and why are we all still asking for it?
What if our "less" created "more"?
Whats the worst that can happen?
"Please sir can I…….?"