Saturday, March 26, 2005

Thinking inside the box... sometimes

I'm no fan of bureaucracies, but people do like it when the trains run on time (and they wish that planes would run on time). That kind of timeliness comes from an intensely structured bureaucracy in which each "cast member" has a well-defined role or "box". We would all hope that all of those people tried diligently to stay in their boxes. On the other hand, we occasionally run into service problems and incidents where the first thing we're looking for is for people to "think outside the box" and work towards a solution instead of offering a curt "I'm sorry sir, but that's not part of our standard procedure."

So, sometimes "thinking inside the box" is quite acceptable and desirable, but the ability to sense an urgent need to move outside the box is equally valuable, and sometimes mandatory.

On the other hand, life can sometimes be quite annoying if you have to interact with people who do nothing by think outside the box. But, it's quite possible that such people may actually be thinking inside their boxes which happen to be outside of your box.

It would seem that the most comfortable situation (and possibly the most growth-oriented) would be when you surround yourself with people whose boxes are so flexible that these people can remain within their boxes even while you in fact can think way outside yours.

-- Jack Krupansky

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