Travel outside of your comfort zone helps to establish your beginner’s mindset.

Audio Version:  SPaMCAST 177

Why is it easier for some organizations to innovate? Why do some organizations become less flexible after a new idea is successfully implemented? I believe that the concept of the beginner’s mind holds a substantial clue about why some people and organizations either embrace or resist change.

The beginner’s mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism known as Shoshin.  It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject.  The beginner’s mind can be present even when studying at an advanced level.  Quoting the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”  The beginner’s mind embodies the emotional qualities of enthusiasm, creativity and optimism.  These qualities are critical for tackling tough problems and for innovation.  The beginner’s mind is just one framework for understanding why some organizations and individuals seems to embrace the boundlessness of the environment around them but nevertheless it is a powerful tool for self-reflection or judging change readiness.

I would like to address the idea of change willingness through the filter of the beginner’s mind from two perspectives: The first is from the point of view of the constraints we accept or create for ourselves and our organizations, and the second would be to reflect on attributes that help us accelerate embracing change. (more…)

4-8 2013 Fence

Even a large project starts with some basic logistics, including acquiring needed raw materials, gathering the tools you need to start and plan to get started. Couple a plan to get started with short iterations and feedback, and we have agile.  Starting with a plan for the plan coupled with phases spells waterfall.  Obviously, regardless of framework some planning is required to get started.

Starting any project without the proper preparation risks delay or failure.  Make sure you only have to start once, or you might have to build a fence around your team and tools to keep them while you sort out  logistics of starting!