If I had a nickel for every time a business leader has told me something along the lines of “That can’t work. We’ve never done it that way!” in response to an idea that doesn’t match their current norm, well let’s just say I could hang up my Jimmy Choo shoes and retire to sipping cold margaritas on the beach a la Jimmy Buffet-style for the next 60 years. (Translation: I hear it A LOT!)
Ironically, most organizations do not hire a consultant to help them keep things the way they are. They hire us to assist them in navigating change of some kind. Yet, most people are hard wired to dislike the process of changing the way they have always done things. Often we’ll solicit input from within the organization- and there’s usually a young leader who has a fresh (translate: “NEW”) idea on how things could be done.
What do you think the number one initial response to that idea is when it’s pitched? Something like this: “Dumb idea. That’s not how we do things.” I like to respond by asking, “Sure. But is it just dumb enough to work?”
If you’re a football fan you saw a great demonstration this weekend when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the New York Giants. The Giants were led onto the field by their Super Bowl Champion Quarterback, Eli Manning, who had a stellar game and were coached by Tom Coughlin, a seasoned (albeit controversial) professional. After an initial fall behind, the Giants rallied to take the lead and in the last few moments of the game the offense needed only to take a knee to capture the win. With the victory in sight, the offensive line sort of moseyed up to the line, casually set up to the ball, and proceeded to be crushed by the attack of the Bucs defensive line.
The Bucs proceeded to trample the offensive line so hard that they tumbled backward, knocking Eli Manning to the ground. He maintained control of the ball, and the Giants won the game. However, Tom Coughlin was so ticked off, instead of shaking the opposing coach’s hand, he gave him a piece of his mind. He said the play was uncalled for, unprofessional, a danger to the players who were “being respectful”, and said it was “bush league tactics”.
But let’s consider the opposing coach for a moment. Greg Schiano is a rookie coach, recently brought up into the NFL from his position as the head coach at Rutgers University. He told the press afterward that his players did exactly what he asked them to do- they played to win until the VERY last second of the game. He didn’t apologize for the play, but instead defended it. He said that the effect of “crowding the ball” has been effective at creating fumbles- resulting in big turnovers that win the game. His team didn’t want the Giants to “be respectful” and he said the notion of putting a professional football player into “danger” was laughable. He had a very different perspective.
Monday Morning Perspective
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” –Tommy Lasorda
“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.” –Horace Mann
Now, obviously the play did not produce the results that Coach Schiano had hoped. Today newscasters and bloggers all around the country are calling it a dumb move. Yet, think for just one moment- if Eli Manning had dropped that ball and a Bucs player had been able to score- those providing commentary would have been saying something very different.
That play would have been just dumb enough to work!
Perhaps this week there might be someone around you that has idea that upon first review might seem impossible. Don’t forget to take a moment to consider whether or not it just might be “dumb enough to work” as well!
Have a wonderful week!
@Professional Coaching Consultants, LLC 2012.
All rights reserved.