I just viewed a short interview on Elon Musk in which he stated that one of the most important ways to assess whether an applicant to a job is effectively a fit and an A-player is being able to see live how they explain how they confronted a problem in the past. Most specifically, which level of depth did the candidate reach on that problem and showing strongs signs of resilience when struggling along the way. Furthermore, Musk ellaborates and he literally says that “after 10 years in Tesla and 11 years in Space X, you get a pretty good grasp of what the problem is“.
I couldn´t agree more. And let me push the subject a little bit more into the business creativity arena.
To be creative in business, either in group or by yourself, you need to go deep into your mind. This very same analogy is as certain as death and taxes. Why? Because the non-original ideas are usually “on top of our heads”.
If you are trying to solve a problem on cutting costs, your mind is going to come up with concepts such as “laying off people”, “increasing manufacture productivity” and the sort. Those concepts that you know after studying or experiencing them at the job. But it´s a pity if you stay in this layer of thought and do not scuba-dive deep down in your mind. There are tonnes of other concepts laying there just to be gathered, combined and effectively applied. Let me give you a quick example:
- If you are an on-line retailer, you may want to reduce transportation costs to increase margins or market share.
- You may think about changing the transportation outsourced company, auctioning the contract to a short list of low cost candidates.
- You may think about switching vehicle fleet if you perform transportation yourself or even go for leasing.
- You may think about lowering the weight of your product.
- You may think about lowering the weight of some of the components of the product.
- You may think about changing or eliminating one of this components altogether, for example, the outer plastic envelope of a printer cartdrige.
- You may think about reducing the weight of the packaging material used by the courier company.
You may find interesting to know that someone has already followed this chain of thoughts and even put it into practice: karatedepot.com (see story on Forbes). They decided to cut costs by switching from the free boxes used by the United States Postal Service to lighter, bubble-protected plastic envelopes payed by them.
So there you are. Look for depth in your mind to solve whatever problem you have at hand. And be resilient to fight and enjoy the struggles along the way.