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Ten Reasons Out-Of-The-Box Thinkers Are Unhappy Employees
Posted 01 August 2016 by Wim De Maeyer 
out-of-the-box thinker

At ISB Smart Solutions we believe that out of the box thinkers are great, we stimulate creativity and give our team the freedom to experiment. Having worked in the corporate world for 19 years myself, I fully recognise the 10 reasons in this article.

By Liz Ryan, published on Forbes.

When you get into the working world you will see that a lot of people are asleep at the wheel! They don’t think about much. They do their job the way it was explained to them and that’s it. They don’t ask questions. They don’t ponder opportunities. They do exactly what they’re told and they want you to do the same thing!

Here are 10 reasons it can be very difficult for a non-traditional or non-linear-thinking person to work in a corporate or institutional job, or a not-for-profit or startup job or any job.

1. Many managers say, “I want to hear your out-of-the-box ideas!” but they don’t really mean it. They are living inside a tiny mental box of their own. They don’t necessarily want to be nudged or shoved out of their mental box, least of all by someone who works under them!

2. Organizations are built around formal processes and structures. Your out-of-the-box ideas may threaten those structures and processes or make them obsolete. Maybe your big idea is good for the corporation overall, but that doesn’t mean it will be good for the middle managers whose roles and authority your good idea may threaten! Guess what will happen to your good idea when people above you figure out that the implementation of your idea could put them at risk?

3. Organizations of all sizes have currents of fear and trust running through them. Those currents are seldom if ever discussed, but they have huge impact on the organization’s ability to succeed. When you propose something out of the norm, you may unintentionally cause the fear level in your organization to spike. Nothing productive can happen when people are in fear. You can tone down your sales approach and try to be content with tiny, incremental changes, but your body may protest. You will not be happy in a place that dims your flame.

4. Many managers hesitate to try new things even in their own departments because they are afraid of getting in trouble if the new idea doesn’t pan out. Many organizations large and small still follow procedures that were conceived and written in the 1990s, when business and life were totally different than they are now.

5. Lots of people are overwhelmed at work. They feel that their brain cannot hold one even one more thought — even a fantastic, breakthrough idea. They are simply out of bandwidth and you are wasting your time trying to get them to think creatively with you.

6. When you propose idea after idea and each one is shot down, of course your mojo level plummets. Of course you get frustrated. You have a brain and you want to use it!

7. Corporations and institutions are linear, boxy things. They are set up like nested sets of boxes. Everybody has a job description and every job description has constraints and limits. Everybody has a boss. Everything is neat and tidy, but only as long as nobody disrupts the system. Interestingly, the real world is always in flux. It’s only inside of our organizations that we can delude ourselves, for a little while at least, that things can stay the same and everything will be fine. Anybody with a creative spirit will be frustrated eventually in a boxed-up, unchanging organization where uniformity is valued over brilliance!

8. It is frustrating to be stalled at every turn as you try to introduce new thinking into your organization, but it is even worse when in addition to getting stalled, you are also shunned for being “difficult” or “pushy.” If you cannot change the thought process in your organization or your department within a year, do you really want to invest a second year beating your head against the wall?

9. The danger of working in a slow-moving, boxy environment is that it will turn you into a pod person yourself. You will stop having great ideas and start to be content with the status quo. You will tell yourself, “At least I have a stable job and a good salary. What else do I need?”

10. When you get beat up enough for daring to suggest new ideas, you will stop speaking up. You will keep your ideas to yourself. Who benefits then? Your customers don’t benefit. Your shareholders don’t benefit. You can make yourself sick by pretending that your job is fine when in fact it is killing your spirit.

Wim De Maeyer adds: Your out-of-the-box talent will be valued in creative and innovative companies, this is especially true in disruptive IT where you can do great things and make big improvements quickly. That's why our customers say YES and shake things up together with our team at ISB Smart Solutions !

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