Leadership: The Eight Sides of a Box

I received an email from my chiropractor letting me know she had joined a new practice and wanting me to know that “Doctor Jackie is always looking out for me.”

Doctor Jackie, if I had to guess, is about twelve.  She is perky. She always dresses in yoga pants and some kind of Under Armor sweat-wicking shirt.  In short, she looks like she has just led a spin class at the YMCA.

I have another ‘doctor,’ my cardiologist.  He has grey hair along his temples, and spends a great deal of time oversees speaking with other cardiology ‘fellows.’

I see a vast difference between the capabilities of the two, and yet she seems committed to the title.  Perhaps there a little ‘d’ docs and big ‘D’ docs. I have decided to call Jackie a little ‘d’ doc.  When I replied to her email I signed mine “Dr. Knowledge.”  She probably did not get the point but I felt a lot better.

I asked my three children how many sides constitute a box.  They had more difficulty understanding the word constitute than they did telling me that boxes have six sides.  Many of you would probably agree with their answer.

However, none of those six sides gets as much attention as the other two sides; the in-side and the out-side.  Those are the two sides that seem to get the most attention when discussing business.  Apparently, the in-side is the least favorable side because nobody wants to be labeled as being the one person doing all of their thinking on the inside.

Thinking out-side the box used to mean that you were a risk taker, someone who was pushing the boundaries of acceptable thought, someone seeking innovation.  Inside the box people were those who came to work each day and worked on the things they did not finish the day before.  Whereas outside of the box people were those who came to work and worked on things that had to do with tomorrow.

It no longer means any of those things.  Now that everyone thinks of themselves as thinking outside of the box, they are all back together looking at the world from inside of the new box.  The only thing that has changed is the location of the box.

Accordingly, the new 50, as relates to thinking and innovation are those who are willing to color outside of the lines.  This skill has never been thought of as a skill. In fact, as early as kindergarten, people have been trying to correct away that behavior.  They are probably still doing that where you work today.  That does not mean it is a bad thing.  It just means that it makes those around you uncomfortable.

Grab your crayons and follow me.

 

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