Realistic Impossibilities

by Kathy Robison

Realistic ImpossibilitiesBeing on the wrong end of the continuum between realistic and impossible is what plagues many of today’s large multi-national corporations. The fear of failure by employees who are only partially engaged and don’t entirely feel like valued members of the team, will always translate into goals and ideas that are mediocre and achievable and never ones that are innovative or impossible. In the 21st century, which is fraught with global economic adjustments, global-interdependence, developed world saturation, and a consumer base that is rapidly changing, creating the impossible is the only way to break away from the competition, ensure success and create a meaningful impact on the world.

Unfortunately most large companies live in the land of the realistic. It has permeated their business model, their culture, and the expectations of their customers. Many of these companies are starting to realize that creativity, thinking differently, and innovation are the keys to success in the future, but they feel stuck in how to achieve such goals. Hopefully some will view them as impossible and find the courage to achieve them anyway. You see, if you want to create a culture that reaches for the impossible, despite the odds, it must begin at the top and it often begins with an updated and innovative business model.

Designing an innovative and exciting business model with impossible goals is often a much easier and less expensive way to creating a culture of creativity and innovation that trying to dictate it. Processes, procedures, and changes in organizational structure can be dictated; innovation and creative thinking must be experienced and nurtured. The act of dictating, making rules, and imposing your will on others are the very things that have turned off our creativity, thinking, and innovative traits in the past. It was OK in the last century where the goals were to build, duplicate, and be efficient. The difference now is that we are moving from a world of industrialization and knowledge to one of conceptualization and connection.

Yes, there will be impediments and unforeseen circumstances that get in the way of creating the impossible, but they must be viewed as learning and growth opportunities. And, yes, there is always the possibility of failure, but failure is not altogether a bad thing. We must learn to accept failure as a part of the process of success. Unfortunately, many corporate cultures are so anti-failure that they no longer reach for anything exciting, tantalizing, or remotely interesting, which are the very things that improve productivity, reduce turnover, attract talent and create cultures that regularly innovate.

The disillusionment with big business and the realization that job security was really an illusion anyway is the fuel for new competition that will come charging out of the gates with all of these new attributes in tact. During the next 50 years, we will see some of the biggest companies in the world come crumbling down as well as the birth of some of the greatest companies in the world. It will be an interesting game to watch and fascinating to see the rules of play take a completely new direction. Here are a few of my favorite new perspective one-liners to start 2010:

  • Do as Wayne Gretzky and “Skate to where the puck will be”
  • Have the capacity to collaborate with the most unlikely of players
  • Create something larger than the products you sell
  • Lead with the tenacity of an underdog


Kathy RobisonKathy Robison is the CEO of YURU, (The Guru Is You), dedicated to assisting businesses to realize the full potential of their success through innovative business strategies, executive coaching and leadership development.

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