LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
Perhaps you’ve seen the TV Show The Grinder featuring a character played by Rob Lowe? Lowe’s character, Dean Sanderson, is famous for his TV portrayal of an attorney. Dean partners with his brother, Stewart (played by Fred Savage), who is a real practicing attorney. The Sanderson brothers team up to become a “formidable team in the courtroom.” Though his family doesn’t agree, Dean believes his acting experience gives him great insight into the practice of law. He is known to shift the outcome of a case by asking one question: “What if…?”
On the show, that simple inquiry, “What if…?” does, in fact, inspire the other characters on The Grinder toward witty solutions and pivotal points of view. We’ve all experienced paradigm shifts in thinking, when we transition from a “glass half-empty” mentality to a “glass half-full” perspective. Of course, as a leader, it takes a bit of courage and stamina to encourage this evolution.
What if you were an intriguing outlier, the chief rebel, or a lead disrupter, you might:
- Drop Preconceived Notions: Preconceived notions are like old habits; they are comfortable and provide a familiar framework. Leaders who challenge preexisting rules often hear: “But, we’ve always done it that way!” and “That will never work!” Leaders don’t only question the status quo, but also help people navigate change.
- Entertain More Possibilities: Asking “What if…?” suspends reality. It’s like putting typical confines on hold just long enough to let a new perspective emerge. When teams truly brainstorm, they generate spontaneous ideas in a judgement-free zone. Innovative ideas allow for more creative thought which invite more ideas…and so on!
- Adopt a Fresh Attitude: With a fresh attitude the rallying cry for you and your team (and even your family) is, “We’ve got this!” rather than, “Let’s brace for another dumpster fire?!” When the expectation is for routine triumph rather than routine failure, a positive attitude overcomes small setbacks. Team members drive toward success because it is the expected outcome.
In 1965, Frederick W. Smith, creator of Federal Express, invented an industry by challenging traditional passenger routes. In his Yale term paper, Smith suggested alternative routes for urgent shipments. “Smith’s professor apparently didn’t see the revolutionary implications of his thesis, and the paper received just an average grade.” Fifty-four years later, FedEx enjoys a global footprint and annual revenue of $64.4B! What if FedEx delivered off-planet? Amazon delivered parcels via unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)? Or Uber offered aerial ridesharing via air taxis?
Allowing a new version of events to play out, especially in your mind’s eye, is extremely powerful and changes the course of a day, project, and career. What if you dropped preconceived notions, entertained more possibilities, adopted a fresh attitude…and visualized success? What if your glass was not only half-full but filled to the brim and overflowing?! What if…?
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Possibilities. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.