What is impossible? Nothing!
If you are on the helm of a company that has well-defined thought flow, you, as a leader, will get many ideas how to improve your business and what new product to introduce on a daily basis. The problem is how to choose efficiently what to think about and what to leave for some other time. If your team trust you, you will get ideas from your managers, middle management, all the way down to the floor. Since the final word - and responsibility - is yours, you must choose wisely.
Now, "wisely" is not always what we want in a company that strives to be not good but great. In fact, wisely can usually be read as "safe," the safest way to continue in well-established footsteps, without disturbing the production process or the market too much. That's OK if you want to be good but if you want to be great, that's not enough. You need something brave, something new, radically if possible, something nobody has done before.
In other words, you don't need a "wise" idea, you need "crazy". There's no doubt, there will be crazy ideas around you all the time, so how can you choose those worth your time? It's easy: if your colleagues says "that's impossible" or "nobody did that before," you know that you are on the right track. Pay a special attention to "nobody did that before" because this is a very dangerous and a very promising statement at the same time.
First, it means that somebody in your company is not brave enough to try to make something radically new. Maybe you will make it, maybe you won't, but even if you don't make it you can learn valuable lessons along the way and come up with a new and unexpected new product or process. "Nobody did it" is one of the best ways for your company to stay where it is, without moving forward, so those are words no great CEO wants to hear time and time again.
Second, so what? So what if nobody ever did that? People thought that pneumonia can't be cured, now we have medicines for that. People thought we will never travel faster than 10 km/h, now we have planes. Nobody, except Sci-Fi movies envisioned a phone in our pocket or a device with thousands of songs in our hands, now we have it all. You got the picture.
But there is one more, and very important, reason to try the "impossible". To move forward, you need to try something you have never tried before. That stands true for every person and every company. That's why it is important to try to break that "that's impossible" state of mind in your company. Only by trying something you have never tried before you and your employees will collect new knowledge, skills and self-confidence that you can do better.
And from time to time, you will make something that will cause a scream from your competitor's board room: "That impossible! How did they do that!?" That's one of the best moments in any CEOs life and a reason for a big smile on every employee's face. ■
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