Grassroots Innovation: The 3rd Way

Grassroots Innovation: The 3rd Way.

Greg captures a concept in 183 words that entire books have utterly failed to explain.

When we are trying to solve a problem, there are always people involved. And people have positions, feelings, and are always emotionally tied to this-or-that outcome.

It is critically important to find “The 3rd Way” when working on a solution.

There is a great example of what Greg describes as “flight” starting in page 73 of John Shook’s book “Managing to Learn.”

Shook summarizes “The 3rd Way”:

. . . making good decisions required everyone’s complete commitment to dealing with harsh reality.

This produced yet another counter-intuitive aspect of A3 management: respect through conflict.

Organizations that confuse “nice-nice” with teamwork end up paralyzed and frozen in place the moment there is disagreement. No further intellectual growth appears, and they had better hope they are far enough ahead that their competitors won’t catch on.

I have already used more words talking about Greg’s post than he spent making it.

5 Replies to “Grassroots Innovation: The 3rd Way”

  1. This nice-nice as team work is created by a culture that feels everyones ideas are right.
    As a team building consultant I struggle with this. There is a differnce from everyones idea is valuable and all ideas are right. Many ideas are valuable and absolutly not right. For a leadership team (or any team) to be effective a culture of sharing ideas all based on the betterment on the organization. This is where a well established goal and an established accountability process makes these discussions easier.

  2. Mark,
    that is interesting, something that we all must encountered in our life.
    We cannot get to the root cause if we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone, either it is outside our knowledge, solution is not personally beneficial or any other reason. This not only prevents problem solving but also like you said stops intellectual growth.
    how do we use this third way? does the leader use the “Conflict” of interest as a platform for creative thinking, risk taking (fight). I feel knowing how to use this concept could be very helpful in problem solving.

  3. Michael you wrote

    Good point. Basically this is trust; that you won’t get thrown out of the organization for calling the bosses ideas stupid.

    Vivek, you wrote

    In my post I meant it as a personal guide. Option one is to explain to the other person how they are wrong. This never works. Two, I could say nothing, which I often do. If the issue is important enough though I keep having make the choice to be silent. I know that I haven’t figured it out yet until I’ve found the 3rd way.

  4. Sometimes when we are in a meeting and I force my opinion no one takes it , probably because it is not the correct opinion. However, i realize that the group probably did not ask me for an opinion anyway – they were just informing me !

  5. Getting into dialogue and bringing out the diverse perspectives on the case will lead to exeptional results.

    Holding the space to generate the “creation fire” is the thing we have to train for – fight or flight are not the strategies that work now!

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