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How to Turn Idea Squashers into Possibilities

Managing a small business continues to become more challenging. However, history has shown that resourceful business owners will succeed. They will prosper, turning disadvantages into advantages by thinking creatively.

While entrepreneurs focused on competition fade into the past, those working from a creative standpoint will carry the torch. The creative individual will force the solution to a problem by looking closely at his or her vision, values, resources, and assumptions. He or she will find alternatives through creative problem solving.

I recently attended a business seminar where the presenter talked about "idea squashers." Squashers are assumptions that form barriers to creative thought. You've probably known someone who was great at coming up with squashers when first hearing new ideas. It's the familiar "Yeah but..." response. The trick is to turn the squasher into a possibility by responding to it with a leading question, or "assumption buster."

Here are some examples of squashers that block creative thought:

  • We've always done it this way.
  • I've already tried that.
  • There's too much competition.
  • It's irrelevant to our situation.
  • You don't have enough experience.
  • We don't have a big enough budget.
  • An "average Joe" can't get ahead.
  • We haven't got the manpower.
  • Someone might not like it.
  • Let's stick with what works.
  • It's too far ahead of the times.
  • That's not in my job description.
  • I'll get back to you later.
  • Stick with what you know.
  • It will take too much time.
  • Nobody asked you to do this.
By replying to these statements with leading questions, a reframing occurs. New possibilities and solutions begin to emerge.

Here are some examples of questions that challenge old assumptions:

"If we tried again, and made this slight change, how might it improve the results?"

"What could happen if you increased your skills and value by gaining knowledge in new areas?"

"What support would you need to accomplish this job?

"If we began again with a clean slate, what would you do differently?

"How could we determine the response to this idea in advance?"

"What other options are you willing to create?"

How would you turn the squashers listed above into possibilities? I'm sure you can think of more thought barriers similar to my examples.

This exercise will strengthen your creativity. It also makes an enlightening group activity. When someone replies to the leading question with another squasher, the questioner again challenges the answer with another leading question.

Try turning idea squashers into possibilities by challenging assumptions. You will generate many creative solutions that might have been overlooked. You will also solve problems in a way that is skill enhancing and enjoyable.

© Copyright 2004 by Steve Brunkhorst. Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Contact Steve by visiting http://www.AchieveEzine.com

In The News:

A new study says that despite stay-at-home measures being successful in flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, any easing of restrictions could be counterintuitive, prior to a vaccine being discovered. 
The  SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. keeps getting worse. China is just starting to reopen its society. South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are managing their outbreaks with the help of massive contact tracing detective work. But New Zealand, which saw its first confirmed case on Feb. 28, is on track to stop its outbreak before it ever had a chance to begin. That's likely thanks to early and decisive nationwide action by its government.
Two separate studies show that the coronavirus outbreak in the New York City area – by far the most deadly in the U.S. – originated from Europe, not China, according to a report.
Volcanic eruptions that played a role in triggering a mass extinction 200 million years ago offer a sober warning for us today amid our warming climate.
A rare and very large hole has opened up in the ozone layer over the Arctic.
An international team of researchers in South Africa has discovered that our ancestor Homo erectus is older than we thought.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many around the world being placed under "shelter-in-place" policies to slow the spread of the virus. Some people are watching television to pass the time, while others are playing video games or checking in on friends and family. One family in England took their time-filling activities a step further — finding a live World War I grenade.
NASA has accepted Boeing’s proposal to fly a second unmanned orbital flight test after an initial uncrewed flight of the new Starliner capsule ran into problems last year.
A new study suggests that volcanic eruptions severely altered the climate of the planet at the end of the Triassic period more than 200 million years ago.
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