June 29, 2015
From thought provoking motivational messages to threatening reprimands of superiors, “think outside the box” has become so cliché that it has turned to the most popular career school motto (fictitiously).
The efficacy of this slogan cannot be ignored as evidence proves that the ability to think outside the box makes you stand above your competitors makes you an exceptional colleague and increases your chances of having a fatter bank account. On a higher dimension, you climb the career ladder faster, get savvier in your field, stay relevant at all times and earn bragging rights (mentorship).
The path to being a czar comes with many milestones to clear and the ability to think outside the box makes your journey faster, but does not guaranty success (dashing of hopes not intended). In order to guaranty success the following must be considered:
Firstly, every organization or sector has a mode of operation, something I’ll rather call a House Style (I’ll explain the preference soon). This mode is carefully patterned based on factors such as the nature of the business model, current state of the nation, position of the economy and many other variables. Examination of all these forms is what forms the mode of operation of any sector/business.
Secondly, as the popular saying goes, “it takes two to tango”, that has become the bane of today’s business environment. Businesses are built on relationships, thanks to the development of various phenomena such as partnerships, team building, just to mention a few. This has helped in enhancing innovation and profitability (hence my love for House Style). Therefore, the act of thinking outside the box can make you unconsciously step on your colleague’s toes, which can become a stumbling block.
Thirdly, we need to respect the place for organizational structure in any organization or sector. I understand that the term ‘structure’ is lacking greatly in most organizations, however, it’s also very inherent in today’s environment. Tampering with one arm of a process equals destroying the entire organogram (maybe that’s why we complain of lack of structure).
Thinking outside the box should therefore be coupled with proper consideration of these three points (not limited to them alone), in order to instill the right kind of culture to your work ethic and an improved level of impact in your chosen endeavor.
Muyiwa Babarinsa is a Media Executive at Mediacraft Associates Limited. He is a writer, thinker and motivational speaker with a strong passion for art and culture.