It’s time to get out of the weeds.

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I attended a brainstorming session this week. One of our teams was stuck. The creative team and the client couldn’t agree on a way to move forward. The client thought we were close. But clearly something had to change.

Within the first hour I knew the problem.

The team, both client and agency, were stuck in the weeds. The small stuff.  The functional stuff. They recognized that their product could do some amazing things, and they wanted to talk about all of them.

But they were missing the point.

The combination of all of those things leads to a much bigger idea. If we stopped thinking about how it worked, we could get to a much more interesting idea.  We had to raise our game. Instead of focusing on the small pieces – we needed to look at the whole. Because the whole story was pretty amazing. In fact, it’s so amazing, it’s almost unbelievable.

And that was the point.

In a category that has had no good news in decades – we had the ability to change everything. For people who had no hope – we had the opportunity to be a beacon in the night. And for the people in the room – we had the responsibility to make sure we didn’t settle for anything less than brilliant.

That also meant starting over. Examining everything. Questioning everything. And putting marker to paper.

But something else happened in the room that day.  Everyone felt liberated. By throwing away the baggage from the past, it allowed everyone to dream a bigger dream for the product. But not being concerned about each individual data point that may or may not be better than a competitor, we allowed ourselves to imagine a new path forward.

It was magic.

The logjam that had paralyzed the team for several weeks was suddenly open to new possibilities. The different factions of the company all suddenly agreed on what was possible for the brand. We talked. We created. We voted. We disagreed. We argued. But in the end we came together.

We now have a single purpose. We now have a vision for what was possible. We now have a way to go.

It’s this clarity that will help us all get to an amazing new idea. And is a great reminder that sometimes the best way to find the path forward, is to take a step back.

R

11.13.13

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