Posted on: Saturday, October 10th, 2009
We are somewhat conditioned to have an automatic negative response to our environment when it relates to limitations. We fret and complain about a limited amount of prospects. We struggle with limitations from our customers (“I’m in a hurry”; “I’m just looking”; “We can only afford $150,000”). We feel limited by our location, or our product, or our processes, or appraisers, or financing, or any number of different restrictions that cause us angst.
Perhaps we are looking at things with the wrong perspective. Perhaps there are opportunities within the limitations if we would only seek them out. We consultants talk a lot about “thinking outside the box”. But are the times when we would be more effective by thinking inside the box?
When you get a chance, rent the movie Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks. Pay particular attention to the scene where the NASA engineers on the ground are trying to figure out how to keep the crew alive in a damaged ship. Specifically, how to they circulate the air so the astronauts can breathe all the way home. But the resources were limited to what was already on the rocket. They couldn’t run out to a Home Depot or a Rockets R Us. They had to work within their limitations.
For a far simpler example, consider your own sales office. You need a sale (and who doesn’t?!). You have limited traffic (sounding familiar?). What do you do? Well, you either increase your traffic or you maximize the traffic you have. This is a simple but important example of the premise that when we are cornered by limitations we are forced to work in a more focused manner, and sometimes it is that focus that allows the magic to happen.
My advice: stop complaining about your limitations, about market conditions, or lack of a budget, or tax credits, or other things over which you have no control. Go on a search for the opportunities inside the limitations. You just might find that your solutions are far more creative, far more elegant, and far more successful.