Zigging When Everyone Else is Zagging

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you enhance your counter-intuitive skills. Reading time: 3:10.

            Your project is spinning its wheels. You’re out of time. Out of money. Out of ideas. And out of patience. Now what? Try zigging whenever else is zagging. Do an about-face. Take the proverbial 180-degree turn. Stop! In order to better GO!


Dick Fosbury high jumps to record height

          Need some inspiration to ignite your counter-intuitive creative performance skills? Let’s visit with a couple of Olympic champions to help you shift your creative gears in your competitive drive.

           Imagine you’re a high jumper in the Olympics. Your focus has to be on your  legs.  On your jumping muscles. On your technique to soar over the bar. Legs firsts. Head down.

          Yet Dick Fosbury ignited his counter-intuitive creative performance skills and won the Olympic Gold medal in 1968 jumping HEAD FIRST and backwards with this signature Fosbury Flop that revolutionized the high jump. He jumped more than a foot over his 6-foot-4 height to set an Olympic record.

          Zig when other zag.

         Leaders readily accept and embrace counter-intuitive thinking. For example, leaders know of course that the best way to get out of quicksand is to counter-intuitively lie down. Your body can float on quicksand. You can then roll over to firm ground. Zig when others zag.

         And leaders also know– counter-intuitively –that you photograph portraits with a lens capable of shooting from hundreds of feet away–ironically even though the face of the person you are photographing– is only a few feet away. The zoom telephoto lens narrows the field of focus and enriches the quality of the photo. Zig when others zag.


Jean Claude-Killy

Jean Claude-Killy

          Imagine you’re just learning to snow ski. You know how difficult it is to keep your legs from sliding away from underneath you. You know how hard you fight to keep your skis closer together and yourself standing.

         Yet Jean-Claude Killy won three Gold medals for snow skiing in the 1968 Olympics as the first champion skier to deliberately ski with his legs apart for greater dexterity, power and balance. Zig when others zag.

        Imagine you’re just learning to play golf. You’re finally hitting the ball straight and you can’t wait to get on the next tee. After all the green is straight ahead well within your range.  All you have to had to do is hit it straight, you kept telling himself. Not really.

      Don’ t Hit It Straight

        Hit the ball straight down the middle and you effectively cut your target area in half. But counter-intuitively a right-handed golfer fading (slicing the ball to right) or drawing (hooking the ball to the left) virtually doubles the size of his target area to the entire width of the fairway. The ball also stops quicker with more control. Zig when others zag.

          Imagine that you’ve wandered  in the desert for hours. You’re thirsty. So thirsty you start digging along the shore of a dry stream, hoping to find some moisture.

         But, counter-intuitively, a leader knows it’s more productive to dig for water farther away from the nearest shore in the outside bend of the stream to find water buried deep in the stream bed on the outside of the bend where the water flows fastest and deepest and where the water is the last part to go dry.  Zig when others zag.

           And you know of course that a smart fish will –counter-intuitively– swim toward the hook. Easing the tension on the line gives the fish more wiggle room to spit out the hook and escape sizzling in a skillet or baking in a pan. Zig when others zag.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Unleash your counter-intuitive to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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