In Change, Leaders, Vision

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, one of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects to success is continuous learning. We can never stop improving our knowledge and skills. That being the case, I spend a pretty significant amount of my time trying out new ideas, attempting to re-think my perspectives, and just generally trying to improve my capabilities.

In the course of trying to learn, I see lots of things that are interesting, but every so often something jumps up and hits me in the face. That happened this week as I listened to Mike Burke talk about a tool he uses with his clients called “Blank Canvas”. I had heard of it before, but it hadn’t really registered with me.

The point of the tool is simple: If you were starting your business today, from scratch, what would it look like? We are so often enthralled with the past that even when we’re making change we base that change on things we’ve done before. The result is that we get stuck in our habits for years.

So throw out everything your business has done before and ask yourself: If I was going to start this business from scratch right now, what would I do? Who would my customers be? Why? What need do they have that I would fill? What would I fill it with? How would I get that thing to those customers? How would I even tell those customers that I exist? For that matter, WHY would my business exist?

When we look at change as something we do to our existing business, we end up usually just tweaking what we’re already doing because our brains are conditioned to think that “This is how we do things”. We need to try more often to think of what’s really the best way to do it, not just what’s the next logical step down the same road we’ve been on for years.

One warning: it’s not easy to think about a blank canvas. It’s difficult to get ourselves to step outside of what we do on a daily basis long enough to really think about what we’d like to do or what would be best for the business. It’s not just something you can spend 2 minutes doing while you multitask on something else. Get your best people, go somewhere, close the door and really get creative.

Of course, all that thinking & creativity & blank canvassing in the end doesn’t accomplish much if you don’t actually do something about it. So think about what a business like your ought to be – then get to work.

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