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Vol. 8, No. 3

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 7 of 43

THE STUPID BARRIER O ur inspired ideas never stop growing. e only thing standing in the way is artificial barriers, with the most prevalent one being the "stupid barrier." I have seen the "stupid" barrier appear over and over again, whether it is in the boardrooms, the meeting rooms or even the informal brainstorming sessions that are so ubiquitous throughout the corporate world. Nobody wants to look stupid, especially in the eyes of their subordinates, colleagues and superiors. When someone offers an "unconventional idea," the judging begins immediately. "at will never work," "We can't afford that," "at's not practical," "ey'll never go for that," "What were you thinking!?" Now let's just suppose that you were the one that just offered what you thought was a groundbreaking idea. e problem started when as soon as you offered this game-changing thought, it was quickly shot down in flames. How are you feeling right now? How likely are you to offer another idea? How likely are you even to speak up again in this meeting? Now let's say that there are a few others that just observed your Sopwith Camel of an idea being shot down by the Red Barons in the room (apologies to Peanuts and Snoopy [e World Famous World War I Flying Ace]). How likely is it that these observers will offer any idea that isn't already conforming to the conventional norms? Will they likely risk being shot down as well? Will they likely look stupid for even offering an idea that is outside the expected thought processes? Yet at the same time, many companies struggle with generating ideas and innovations in process and/or product. Some of these same companies pay lip-service to the notion of thinking differently and rewarding risk takers but when someone actually takes them up on the offer, the reaction is both swi and adverse. I recall an internal consulting position I took in the early 2000s with an established third-party logistics company (name withheld to protect the guilty). At my orientation, I was handed a copy of Gary Hamel's outstanding book, "Leading the Revolution," (Harvard Business School Press, 2000) and was informed that I would be responsible (with others) for innovating business processes. I celebrated at the notion of experimenting with different ideas and methods in the normally staid logistics arena. It wasn't long before I had an opportunity to put that to test. We were asked by a large international paper producer to analyze and suggest ways to improve their supply chain. Aer the analysis was complete, I was asked to give a client presentation with both the findings and suggestions. e struggle began immediately when putting together the PowerPoint slides for the presentation and the suggested course of action. I was informed BY MOE GLENNER 8 IT MAGAZINE Vo l . 8 , N o . 3

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