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The 9 most frustrating words in business

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The nine most frustrating words I hear from business leaders is, “That is the way we have always done it.”

What this really means to me is, “I am not willing to explore or consider alternative options because that would require extra effort and energy.”

An organization may have a good solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s THE right solution and certainly doesn’t mean it’s the only solution.

My leadership mentor says, “No idea is perfect. No matter how good it is, it can be improved.”

When someone tells you, “That is the way we have always done it,” ask them three questions to challenge that thinking. Say, “That’s great,” (followed by)

  1. “How could you make it even better?”
  2. “Do you believe it will work well in the future?”
  3. “How long will it serve as the world continues to change?”

When you ask the right questions, you trigger curiosity, challenge the status quo and push for growth.

I believe that complacency is one of the root characteristics of average businesses.  

As author Roger von Oech stated, “Almost every advance in art, cooking, medicine, agriculture, engineering, marketing, politics, education, and design has occurred when someone challenged the rules and tried another approach.”

abundance thinking

Abundant thinkers believe they can and will create new and better ideas. (Photo: iStock)

This phrase, “That is the way we have always done it,” highlights the mindset of scarcity thinking. Scarcity thinking is the mindset that there are only a fixed number of ideas and resources available.

Abundant thinkers believe that they can and will create new and better ideas. Abundant thinkers don’t care when someone takes a bite or piece of their pie, because they are already busy creating a new and better pie.

John Maxwell says, “Good ideas are everywhere, but it’s hard to see them when you won’t look outside of your box. Instead of remaining confined, people need to break down the walls of their boxes, get out, and become hunters of ideas.”

I love that entire quote, but my favorite part is: “Become a hunter of ideas.”

For many years, I considered myself a positive person, but I was not solution oriented. That is the status of many average achievers. Remaining positive is a fabulous trait, but if you don’t combine with a solution mindset, you are positive, but stuck. You live inside of your own limitations.

Author Brian Kemmer says, “When average people ask themselves, “Can I do this?” they base it on the circumstances they see. An abundant thinker asks, “How can I?” This simple twist of semantics changes everything. It forces your mind to create a new solution.  

Where do you find yourself practicing scarcity thinking?  Where are you limiting yourself?

Develop an abundance mentality, stretch yourself and be naturally curious.  

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