Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Think Outside the Box - Day 9: 100 Days of Leadership

It’s easy to think inside the box. A problem arises and our brain considers all the possible solutions, generally based on our experience. We frequently think inside the box.

Einstein once remarked that no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. To solve a difficult problem then, one needs to engage in thinking that is paradigmatically different to the thinking that was present when the problem first surfaced.

Consider for a moment, that the general public in the western world are generally no longer fascinated and enthralled to attend church. We have sat around and discussed the possible changes we could make to increase church attendance. Someone says, ‘Let’s improve the music.’ Another pipes up and says, ‘Let’s serve up coffee in the foyer following the service.’ ‘Hey, why don’t we get a guest speaker occasionally?’ The issue is, that the lack of people attending church in today’s context is not a problem that is going to be solved with ‘in the box’ thinking. If people are not attending churches, why would it seem beneficial to improve the internal architecture of the place? A leader needs to think outside the box.

How does a leader think outside the box? Brainstorming often works. Others prefer to clear the air and climb a mountain. One may ask for someone’s opinion from outside their usual field of expertise. Use your left brain, then use your right brain, that is, start by thinking logically about solutions to a problem and then think creatively. Write a poem. Draw a picture. Read from a different field of expertise.

What does the Bible say?

Matthew 22:34-40 - Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What will I do now?
In the above Scripture, Jesus provided a radical answer to a difficult question. I wonder how you can foster the capacity to think outside the box? Write down a problem. Can you think of any creative ways to solve the problem?

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