I found this picture on Google + yesterday morning. I sent this post to my newsletter group yesterday. The response was so positive, I decided to share it here with you. You can join my newsletter here.
I think the picture above tells this story: Someone didn’t pay their parking tickets and found themselves with a boot on their front right wheel.
It is impossible to drive your car with a boot on one of your wheels. Most of us would look at this situation and decide that there is no way that we can drive our car. We would also pay whatever fines were due and have the boot taken off of the wheel, freeing ourselves to drive.
But, maybe the owner of this car didn’t have the money to pay his fines. Maybe he is a bit of a ne’er-do-well or an outlaw of some sort. Or maybe he is a decent human being with every intention of paying his fines when he is in a better position to do so. He might be unemployed, down on his luck, with three small kids to feed. We don’t know, and for our purposes here it doesn’t really matter.
What we do know is that the owner of this car is a resourceful devil that chose to look at his problem in a very different way than most of us would have. He went to a great deal of trouble to free his car, but free his car he did!
He unbolted the wheel. No problem. But then he must have had to find some help to move his car away from the wheel. He might have found some friends to lift the front of the car enough to remove it from the wheel. He could have had a jack (or a couple of jacks) on wheels, allowing him to move his automobile off the booted wheel. Undoubtedly, once he had done so, he popped the trunk, replaced the wheel with the donut tire, and drove off in his car.
Most of us in this situation would ask the question: “How to I get this boot off my tire?” The owner of this car asked instead: “How do I free my car from this wheel?” Answering the first question required resources he didn’t have available to him. Answering the second question required only that he find resources already available to him. But he started by asking a different and better question.
How many of the challenges you face look like a boot on your front right tire? Think of one of those challenges.
Are you trying to find the answer to how you can remove the obstacle?
How could you instead leave the obstacle exactly where it is and still get the outcome you need anyway?
How can you use only the resources available to you to find some other way, a new way?
Resourcefulness is your greatest human attribute. You have the ability to exercise your creativity to solve the greatest of problems and overcome the greatest of challenges. But exercising your resourcefulness requires that you look at problems differently and that you ask different questions. This is the heart of innovation. It’s the heart of improvement. And it is how we help our clients and our companies produce better results.
What problems will you apply your resourcefulness to this week?
Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.