One of the occupational consequences of working international projects is an abundance of long flight hours with time to kill. Once all the possible staff-work is complete and I’ve read as much as possible, the airline movie marathon starts. I categorize movies based on if I’d be willing to pay to see them at a theater, willing to pay to Netflix them, willing to watch them for free on a plane and last, movies I cannot even to watch for free. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by a movie I’ve never heard of.
“Cold Souls” (2009) starring Paul Giamatti was very odd and a nice surprise. An interesting scene in the movie involved a doctor explaining to Giamatti the concept of tying a young circus elephant’s ankle to a tent spike to stop them from wondering off. When young, the spike is strong enough to stop the elephant. The elephant “learns” that they cannot over-take the constraint. As the elephant grows bigger and stronger, they never question the power of the constraint. Of course the spike is no match for the large elephant, but they never try to over-power it.
This made me wonder what constraints we artificially apply to ourselves and/or what barriers our people believe that really do not exist. How often have you heard “we have never done it that way” or “this will never work?”
What artificial constraints can you remove for your people? What items can you fix that have really bothered the teams reporting to you?