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How often do you as Project Manager think out of the box?
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Project Managers are so caught up by the day to day project constraints that it's very unlikely to see someone thinking out of the box as a PM.

Do you think this should be a more common practice?
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I think we get caught up by day to day, but whenever we stuck then we start to think outside the box to sort the issue out.
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I have a strong appreciation for standards and historical knowledge, so I naturally start there first. But many of the issues I encounter are unique. In those cases, I try to approach it with a beginner’s mind. I absolutely love this and try to apply it in all areas of my life.

Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism that means “beginner’s mind.” It’s essentially the practice of letting go of preconceived ideas in an effort to be open to learning. When we approach a situation with a child-like curiosity and desire to learn, we are more likely to generate creative, potentially better solutions than limiting ourselves to solutions exclusively based on past experiences.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
—Shunryu Suzuki
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2 replies by Mark Eckman and Seif Eldin Soliman
Jul 30, 2018 7:51 AM
Mark Eckman
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Very interesting concept.

I will look into Shoshin. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Jul 14, 2019 2:41 PM
Seif Eldin Soliman
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I believe Brenda's approach is very true, whenever we approach problem with SME mindset we try to apply what we know most of the time which hinders our ability to think of new solutions. When you think like a beginner you approach the problem differently.
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I certainly don't limit myself to any constraints of the box.
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When we are challenged, we usually tend to think out of box.
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Sometimes staying inside the box isn't a bad thing. If it works and it works well, it may be better to save thinking outside the box for things that do not work so well.
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I think out of the box all the time. I dislike repetitiveness, so as a contractor I choose challenging assignments that force me to formulate creative solutions to novel problems. The new experiences enhance my skills, and I'm never bored.
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1 reply by Larry Miner
Jul 14, 2019 2:11 PM
Larry Miner
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I couldn't agree more Eric. Having to think on your feet about something completely new keeps you fresh and aware. It also provides you with a perspective, on project management, staying inside the box doesn't.
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George -

We all have mental blocks - some just have more than others. Self-awareness is important but so is encouraging diversity of thought and backgrounds on the team so that one person's self-imposed constraints won't be a limiting factor on the overall level of team creativity. This is why psychological safety is so critical to give folks the confidence to share wacky ideas...

Kiron
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Agree with brenda.
As PM's we try to workout solutions or resolve issues within framework of Plan, processes and established norms & procedures. On can think out of box, but implementing out of box may lead to chaos. Any out of box solutions to be discussed with all stakeholders and accordingly it can be taken forward
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I see Pandora out of the box all of the time ;-)
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Jul 29, 2018 9:30 AM
Replying to Brenda Phillips
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I have a strong appreciation for standards and historical knowledge, so I naturally start there first. But many of the issues I encounter are unique. In those cases, I try to approach it with a beginner’s mind. I absolutely love this and try to apply it in all areas of my life.

Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism that means “beginner’s mind.” It’s essentially the practice of letting go of preconceived ideas in an effort to be open to learning. When we approach a situation with a child-like curiosity and desire to learn, we are more likely to generate creative, potentially better solutions than limiting ourselves to solutions exclusively based on past experiences.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
—Shunryu Suzuki
Very interesting concept.

I will look into Shoshin. Thank you for sharing this with us.
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