When working through the improvement process, it is easy to see things as they are and then look to make changes from there. Often times it can be difficult to find the improvement path that leads you out of the current situation. Instead, block out this current status and imagine what you want if you were starting fresh, and you may see things with a freer mind.
I recently had this situation happen twice the same week and in both instances, removing the ‘current status’ barrier gave me better clarity in determining the desired outcome and the strategy to get there.
The first, and somewhat minor, instance happened while wading in a river fly fishing with a setup that I didn’t feel was right for the conditions. I pondered what quick, simple tweaks I could make to my current setup, but could not find a suitable answer that I felt would work. After some time and contemplation, I asked myself the freeing question, “What setup will work best?” I quickly came up with an answer and then realized that the only way to get there was to step off the river and switch out the gear I was using completely. This was feasible because I had the needed gear, but it was not feasible in my mind at first because I confined myself to the current setup, which would not work effectively.
Secondly, I was meeting with staff to discuss changing our fleet of buses and vehicles to better suit our organization’s needs. We went round and round struggling to decide which vehicles to keep, which to swap and what we want. Then I asked the group the same question I asked myself on the river, “What setup will work best, not considering what we have now?” You could see a weight lift off our shoulders, and with that frame of mind, we developed a fleet configuration that would meet our diverse needs. Then we were able to determine how to get from where we were to where we wanted to be.
We can get stuck making decisions based on what we have now. Remove this limitation when thinking about change and imagine only what you want to have or want to do. Once you have your vision, then see how you can get from where you are to where you want to go. Remove the ‘current status’ cage of your creative thinking.