Coffee House Coach

Business Not as Usual or “How to Think Out of the Box.”

If you’re in business you should know that there are 100’s of things you need to pay attention to in your business, from operations, through sales, marketing and administration.  I have spent 40 years in business, within several industries, dealing with all departments at the mid and executive levels, and I can tell you that all basic business practices are the same and the #1 reason so many businesses fail, beyond the usual of under capitalization is this.  They don’t take the time to pay attention to all the details in every dept., which can amount to thousands of things to do.  So how do you pay attention to everything?  You hire the right people and dissect everything.  And while I’d love to help you with all of it today, that is impossible, so I’ll start with a basic that most people and businesses don’t get and almost no one talks about and that is this.  How to think out of the box.

So what does this really mean?  As they say “you only know what you know” and “you just don’t know what you don’t know.”  Since you can’t know everything “How do you begin to think differently?”

First, we have 2 systems that drive us, or that we operate from, which is scientifically proven, and written about in a book called, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, by Daniel Kahneman.

Through decades of tests it is proven that our brain has 2 systems, or 2 ways of acting.  The first is called System 1, this is our FAST automatic or reactive system. It’s the fight or flight instinctive part of us.  And while system 1 is very beneficial to our survival it doesn’t help us think logically.  As an example if you were driving down a road and suddenly a deer jumps out from the side of the road, System 1 would have you swerve and slam on the brakes without you giving any conscious thought to it at all.  If we used System 2 our reaction would be so slow that we’d probably run right over the deer, no swerving and no braking, until it was way too late.  Now when it comes to figuring out complex problems in math, science and so forth System 1 is of little help, except when it comes to solving simple problems such as what is 2 + 2, or other data we have learned and memorized.  So now you get some idea of the benefit of System 1.  Quick, responsive, but it can have us act irrationally.

System 2 is the SLOW, logical part of us and the opposite of reactive System1.  It’s the thinking part of our brain that allows us to use what we have learned to solve more complex mathematical computations, or in figuring ways to investigate and prove theories.  It’s when we can rationally think through a problem, allowing us to make sensible, coherent decisions.  Where System 1 can handle very easy, simple situations, System 2 can have us work for hours solving a problem, theorizing, and elucidating on the potential outcome.  System 2 can keep us out of trouble by allowing us to deliberately act not letting the reactional, and emotional System 1 take over and do things we wish we had thought through.

So what does this have to do with “Thinking Out of the Box”?  Well as you can see if we use System 1 it would be difficult to find alternative solutions, because System 1 is so reactive.  Unfortunately while we, as individuals, might use System 2 wisely in solving business problems we too often use the reactionary, emotional System 1 when others give us advice or give us solutions we haven’t thought of.  Why?  Because we don’t want to be thought of as stupid (Why didn’t I think of that?), or wrong, because we always want to be right, don’t we.  However, if you live in being “Right” all the time you are closed off to learning and therefore you remain in “The Box”.

So here’s your solutions:

First, accept another way of thinking, or input, from others.  It opens the door to you moving outside the box you are in.  Take the time to do some research about your subject or the problem your trying to solve.

Second, talk to someone outside of your business, someone who knows little, or nothing about your business to get a different or unique perspective.  Why?  Because they don’t think like you do.  There perceptions aren’t based in the knowledge you have and therefore will have a different and perhaps a unique view.  Talk to experts in your field and others in your industry to get their perspective.  Listen intently and do not discount anything they say because you believe you have, done that, tried that, whatever that is.

Third, write them down, ask more questions, go deeper, and explore, discuss, and dissect their perspective, the possibilities, and the opportunities.  So how much time, credence, and credibility do you permit, enough for you to either achieve that “aha” moment, or when you truly believe you have exhausted all possibilities.  Then it’s okay to begin making some decisions.

Fourth, take all the input from your research and from others, that has been dissected and assessed, and make several plans.  Plan “A”, “B”, and “C”.  Once all plans are in place be sure that you have the time and resources to compete each plan, and have a method to monitor the results of each plan.  Try one at a time giving each plan a reasonable amount of time and to measure the outcome of each.

Fifth, make small adjustments as needed to refine the process and/or the message.  Be patient and allow the process or program to run as you intended!  We all want instant gratification, but stick to the plan, which may take weeks or months.  And never radically change the program mid-stream, it’s a sure way to waste time, money, and resources.  Not everything you do will work as intended, that’s why you plan, evaluate, test, evaluate and test again, and then execute the final plan.  And know that with all things you must continue the process as the world and your business is fluid and ever changing.

In closing remember this:  If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.  And most of the time we don’t think it through because we are impatient to find success.  What we are doing is reacting to what we believe we perceive and making a decision before we have completed all the steps.  Thinking it through could be as little as a few minutes, or it could be days or weeks, but don’t over analyze, and don’t try to make it perfect.  Perfect is only a perception.

Reinventing the wheel is good and necessary, if you don’t you’ll be stuck in the Stone Age with Fred Flintstone.  Innovate, plan, and execute!

Business Not as Usual or “Thinking Out of the Box”


Step 1 – Accept that You Don’t have All of the Answers.  Research your Subject or Problem

Step 2 – Seek Input from Others outside and inside your industry.  Listen and don’t prejudge any ideas.

Step 3 – Ask questions, explore, discuss, and dissect the ideas until you get that “aha” moment.

Step 4 – Make several plans and be sure you have the time and the resources to complete the testing process.  Then test and evaluate, and test and evaluate, and test and evaluate – It’s ongoing!

Step 5 – Make small incremental adjustments, so the plan doesn’t radically change.  Implement a final plan and then monitor, and change as necessary.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. 

Innovate, plan, and execute!

About Us:

Arthur Tassinello - Coffee House Coach business advice

Name:  Coffee House Coach

Contact: Arthur Tassinello

Business: Business and Life Coach

Advice Topics:  How to ‘Think Out of the Box’ when it comes to business

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