“No You Can’t Do That”

Recently I have been coming across people who are finding the whole notion of getting their ideas knocked back really frustrating. The RMIT students I mentor were talking about it,  people who are in big organisations are describing it to me and individuals who are simply trying to make a difference are also experiencing it. I do not think the ” No you can’t do that” syndrome is on the increase, but it does seem to be an emerging pattern in the conversations I am having.

It set me thinking about ways to deal with and manage the situation.

The first that came to mind was de Bono 6 Hats application.  By structuring a meeting or a conversation using 6 Hats the thinking can focus on the positive first and then the risks, rather than the other way around. It may go something like this:

Blue Hat   “We are going to look at such and such an idea and make a decision about its implementation”

White Hat ” This is the idea

Yellow Hat “These are the benefits of the idea”

Black Hat ” These are the risks of the idea”

Red Hat (briefly) ” This is what we feel about the idea” 

Blue Hat “This is what we are going to do about the idea”

This keeps people focused and balanced, and puts the positive before the negative instead of the usual human trait of defaulting to the negative  first all the time.

Alternatively one of the DATT tools such as Plus Minus Interesting could be used instead.

Another way would be to work with the group generating the ideas is to undertake an archetype extraction. I did such a thing when working within the Victoria Public Service and we looked at innovation within the public service.  The archetypes were the product of a cross sectional group from the public service and provided ways of  identifying  and understanding the behaviours of innovation blockers. Therefore ways of managing the behaviour could be found.  Archetypes include characteristics and attributes and are none of us but many of us.

A third approach is that of metaphor. Arthur Shelley’s Organizational Zoo character cards are wonderful for metaphor. The cards are representative of animals in the Zoo ( organization) Each has particular behaviours and attributes  and all are neither good nor bad. This is the perfect opportunity to look at behaviours in the third person and remove the discussion about the blockers from the personal. Conversation around the animal metaphors can then lead to how do we solve the problem of not getting uptake of our idea. 

So all is  not lost when someone says ” No You Can’t Do That”

For further information or assistance with exploring the implementation of any of the above please contact  laurel.sutton@cre-ativ-cognicion.com.au


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