Most business owners succumb to reasoning errors over time. I fall prey myself. I ask myself: “given this asset, what more could be done with it?” Just this morning I began wondering about utilization of a warehouse and forklifts that are used only seasonally within our seed businesses. Given the seasonality of their use, what else could be done with them? We have cross docked other products for our companies. This all seems reasonable.
Sometimes this sort of question produces a new insight –a creative spark. An imagined future that could be pursued relatively easily using the present resources without drastic change. The key word is sometimes.
I read a book (title) that described how the DuPont family began by asking this same question amidst rapid growth, huge prosperity that was clearly going to end. They knew their gun powder business was going to slow or even cease at the end of the major war. What assets did they have that could be repurposed? How could their warehouses and manufacturing facilities be transformed?
Many ideas were put forward. Each one fizzled, popped or exploded. Then, someone very high up (name) suggested they reframe the question. How are our people particularly talented? What rare gifts do they possess? Let us hold that in our minds and then imagine a better world. What bothers us? What could be extremely different and much better? Then, how would our people respond to if given this imagined vision?
Given this vision the people ripped out many ideas and procedures. They said things like: Sure we’d have to sell this gunpowder plant but we could take that money and build this sort of a facility. We could transform lives for the better. We could step into the place that a fallen German leadership is about to leave vacant. An interstice in the marketplace is about to appear which we can resolve. It will be better. Life will be better.
The point often made herein is that the people are the greatest asset. They possess the greatest inherent, intrinsic ability to produce more under changing circumstances. They are alive and produce more life, more vibrancy. Loosen the hold and increase the inspiration. Given this intrinsic talent, what might be done?