5 for 5 – Possibility thinking = we before me

8 Dec

Good morning all.

I have been thinking all weekend about one of the questions posed in the video from last week’s Friday Unwind (http://www.5for5blog.com/friday-unwind-probable-vs-possible/). The question was:

When asked if we believe something is “possible”, do we only think about what is “probable”?

Perhaps, it stuck in my mind because I am in the midst of completing my planning for 2015. Anyone in a publically traded, corporate environment will realize the challenges here. Another common theme in thinking about this question went back to the many strategic initiatives that I have participated in or led in the past. Regardless of whether it was planning or initiatives, I thought long and hard about if I truly pushed myself towards “possibilities” or took the safe route to “probabilities”.

The idea that stuck with me is that probability almost always is thinking about your priorities ahead of the bigger needs of the business or the organization. When we are more worried about how we will make our goals than how the overall business will perform, we will tend towards outcomes that are highly probable. And while I can truly understand that concern, especially in organization that practice rating-and-rankings organizations or pay-for-performance, it takes leadership to embrace possibility thinking.

Possibility thinking allows us (forces us) to ask the question “What would have to be true for this outcome to be achieved?” I learned the power of asking this question form the book, Playing to Win by Roger Martin and A.G. Lafley. This question puts aside the million reasons you might believe a big “possible” outcome is not achievable, and allows the team to consider a range of options that could be true and back into how to achieve those ideas.

It is no small question, but one that I hope you will consider and continually challenge yourself with when faced with committing to outcomes that may seem too large or challenging at the onset. Set aside your probable contribution to consider a truly possible one.

Please also consider the article below from Seth Godin “The problem with problems” as a very close companion to this thought on possibilities versus probabilities.


Here’s this week’s 5 for 5:

Solving The World’s Biggest Problems Takes Ensembles, Not Soloists– by Daniel Stillman – via Design Gym


SO WHAT: Collaboration by definition requires we engage and work with others. How we go about doing this can mean success or failure.

Tags: Leadership, Collaboration


The problem with problems – by Seth Godin, via @thisissethsblog


SO WHAT: Problems vs. opportunities. Your attitude determines how you see it.

Tags: Leadership, Perseverance


Fight Overthinking, That Destroyer of Decision Making – by Martin Turner and Jamie Barker – via Entrepreneur


SO WHAT: An interesting take on decision making and how worry can distrupt that flow.

Tags: Creativity, Leadership


Need to Change? Keep a Diary – by Charalambos Vlachoutsiocos – via Harvard Business Review


SO WHAT: As with many things it is difficult to track our performance or change in a short period. Journelling or a diary can help you see your performance over a longer context.

Tags: Change


5 Ways Being A Good Follower Makes You A Better Leader – by Gwen Moran – via Fast Company


SO WHAT: Probably the most important article I’ve read this week. You are not a sheep. Good leaders need good followers. Being a good follower requires being actively engaged with the traits shared in this article.

Tags: Leadership.


All the best, Kevin