Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What If?

I recently attended the Power Transmission Distributor Association (PTDA) Summit in Phoenix, Arizona (www.ptda.org). There I had the pleasure of hearing Mike Rayburn speak as a keynote speaker (www.mikerayburn.com).The title of Mikes’ address was “What If and Why Not?” Mike is an amazingly talented musician who uses music and comedy to get across some really big ideas. In this day and age we all want to be innovative. We all want to differentiate our products or services. We are all looking for value-add and a way to deepen our relationship with our customers. But we tend to get caught up on how to do it. Because usually truly achieving any of these goals requires a huge shift in thinking and/or behaviors. It means learning a new process or skill; defining a new technology or way of thinking. And that gets a bit scary and risky. But Mike pushes back and says why not just break it down into smaller parts and ask – What if or Why Not?
Mike stressed the importance of starting on the path to the goal. Don’t worry about having everything mapped out and solved. Interestingly enough that has been a theme I have heard recently from several people.  Mike says that often you just have to set your course and start moving and interestingly enough the solutions and resources will start coming to you. Deepak Chopra taught us the same thing in the “Soul of Leadership” class I took at Kellogg School of Management.  Deepak said we need to learn to trust the universe; that when you put big ideas out there, and you start to gain awareness, the universe will start to deliver the solution (http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/execed/Programs/SOUL.aspx). Just last month in my WPO Platinum meeting our facilitator Chris McGoff, Founder & CEO of The Clearing stressed the use of primes in creating strategic vision for our companies. One prime we learned was “Trust the Universe”. A concept that if we set our sights on what we have the know-how to achieve we tend to limit our vision and constrain our future. Visionary leaders make declarations about the future trusting that what is needed to fulfill the vision will emerge as they step out and take action (www.theclearing.com).
We are all looking at big changes within our industries and companies. The last year has created the need for new thinking. I think I am finally starting to realize that I don’t have to all the answers. I just have to be committed to the vision and taking the journey. So the next time I feel stumped by a problem I am going to pour myself a nice glass of Peju Estate Cabernet Franc Reserve and ask “What if and Why Not?” and trust in the journey that will follow.