Dave Gunby is a professional trainer, a thought leader in the area of training trainers. I read a great quote today in his e-zine, which is also available on his MINDimensions web site. He quotes a story from Roger von Oech’s book A Kick in the Seat of the Pants:
When Columbus was at the Royal court in Spain, he asked the courtiers if they could get an egg to stand on end. They tried and tried but couldn’t get it to stand upright. He then boiled the egg and squashed it down. They said, “That’s not fair, you broke the rules.” He replied, “Everything is fair once you’ve done it.”
Columbus then went on to break some even bigger rules. When you are endeavoring to generate new ideas, whether solving old problems or creating new opportunities, you must be willing to break the rules. Make sure that your idea-generating session(s) include ideas that violate corporate policy (it’s always subject to change anyway), challenge well-accepted “norms,” and are just plain silly.
I’m not advocating breaking rules that will get you in trouble with the law (and I don’t believe Dave is either). However, leaders must be willing to take a hard look at long standing traditions or sacred cows and be willing to change them when necessary to improve results. It’s not easy, but always worth it.