Tag Archives: creative problem-solving

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.

                  Continue reading

CYA : Check Your Assumptions

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you gain a new perspective problem-solving. Reading time: 2:17.

                  You’ll know you successfully crossed the threshold from manager to leader when you rely more on your insight than on what’s in sight. Effective leaders check their assumptions.  They practice CYA.

Modern day exterior elevator at Lloyds in London.

Modern day exterior elevator at Lloyds in London.

      That’s what happened when hotel guests  complained about the lack of elevators. But the hotel owner balked at the prospect of shutting down the only elevator in the building  for at least a week to bore the additional elevator shaft in the building.

       The hotel owner is concerned: in solving the problem of too few elevators he will have to make the crowding problem even worse for a short time. The owner had seen this movie before.

        Then he flashed his CYA. He checked his assumptions when a janitor offered a different perspective.

          The  janitor, sweeping near the elevator banks, overhears the architect and the hotel owner planning to add the elevator shaft inside the building.

          Continue reading

Persuasion: From Sumo to Judo

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you counter challenges in the marketplace. Reading time: 2:02

            You’re the CEO of a family friendly resort. But the prostitutes seem to be more visible than ever before around the resort, no matter how much security and police patrol.

Judo –Using an Opponent’s Weight Aganst Him

           Now the prostitutes are getting even more brash, distributing their business cards in public lounges, on vending machines and in bathrooms among others places throughout the resort.

         It seems the faster the janitorial staff confiscates and trashes those business cards, the quicker those prostitute business cards reappear. (For a Fun Time call xxx-xxx-xxxx).

       How would you solve this problem?

       Practice judo not sumo. That’s what the most effective leaders do. They outsmart the prostitutes.

     They  use their strength—against them — the way combatants in judo use each other’s weight against themselves.

      Forget trying to out power them the way sumo wrestlers do. Forget trying to confiscate those business cards faster than they can distribute them.  Out do them with judo like this:

       The CEO  decided to turn the prostitute’s strength –their business card distribution system–into their weakness. He had his janitors carry a label stamp.

       This time the janitors picked the prostitutes business cards up, stamped them with a three-word message and put them back on the vending machines, in the bathrooms and in the public lounge areas.

      The three word message: “First Hour Free.”

      Within 24 hours none of the prostitute business cards could be found on the resort.

       Continue reading

Slipping Into a Girdle of Innovation

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to extend your limited resources in tough economic times.

      As a leader, you’re resourceful. Leaders  use whatever resources are available in new and different ways. Even girdles:  Doctors, seeking to construct the first artificial heart valve, needed a material that would have the same elasticity of the heart. They used the polyurethane material of a girdle to shape the innovation.

       Call it wiggle room of another kind, the kind of wiggle room that innovative leaders bring to creative problem-solving. And how ‘s your wiggle room? Read on to enhance your resourcefulness.

        Leaders use whatever resources are available in new and different ways. Even women’s skirts:  Confederate troops in the Civil War were building an observation balloon. They needed 980 yards of silk material. Women in Savannah, GA donated their skirts for the silk to make the balloon.

      Leaders are resourceful. They use whatever resources are available in new and different ways. Even diapers: Fire fighters noticed that everything in a dump burned except the diapers. They found out what chemicals comprised the diapers and used that chemical in a special spray as a fire-retardant to save homes from a wildfire in Florida.

   Be resourceful  and you could use the twisted sinew of a moose or a deer or the skin of a snapping turtle to become the bow as the innovative Chippewa Indians did.

   Be resourceful and you could become like the mountain climber who brought only a small piece of tarp and two short ropes on  mountain climbing exhibition. She took along a piece of dental floss and used it to extend the ropes to build a make shift tent between the trees.

  Be resourceful and you could become like artist Benjamin West who used  the hairs of a cat to make his own paint brushes.

  Be resourceful and you could become like inventor Thomas Edison. He  found a sewing thread in his wife’s sewing basket and improvised and it became  a filament for the world’s first long-lasting light bulb.

       So how resourceful are you?  How many different ways can you problem solve? If there are 293 different ways to change a dollar bill with common coins, how many different ways can you change the way you use a diaper? Or a girdle? With your wiggle room.

Today’s ImproveMINT
Creatively use your existing resources to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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