What Is The Box?

  • Aug 5, 2016

What is the box?

I was sitting in on a web conference of promotional gurus yesterday when I realized something that should have been apparent all along.  We had each been noted for thinking… outside the box. What does that mean?  Well, when we say it, we mean we are creative.  When some clients say it about us, it is more of an accusation that we are not practical.

So, what is the Box?  The box is where the action is.  It is the job at hand.  The human mind is a wonderful instrument, it is able to remove all interference and focus on a specific task.  That is how we get things done.  The things in the box are the daily tasks at hand.  The problem arises because we have so much to do that we don’t have time to step away from the box and see where it is in the big picture or to evaluate how those activities fit together.  Although that ability to focus is a great capability we tend to focus more and more on the smallest details and are drawn into being technicians rather than managers.  We need to be both but we tend over time to focus more narrowly unless we consciously step back.

That’s why we all need someone who is not involved in the daily activity of our job; someone who can help us step back from the job and see the big picture.  The big picture is not some magical undefined nothing.  The big picture is a place to see the entire box by stepping outside the box.  It is the place you go to ask what if questions about the activities in the box as well as renew the meaning and direction of the box.

As we talked on that conference, I realized that one of the major values each of us as promotional consultants can bring to the table for our clients is that we help them step back for a few minutes and get in touch with what they already know but have been too busy to consider.  My customers are more creative than they realize.  They often give me credit but they already knew the answers.

Each of us needs to find someone who can ask the right questions and help us step back.  Find that person.  They need to be genuinely interested in you, be curious about what you do and why, and have the ability to ask the right questions.  I spend about an hour once a quarter with my guru.  That helps me step back and gain a better understanding of my box.