I have had the occasion over the last year to be involved in a couple of projects that were fascinating. Now, the projects were not necessarily fascinating for the subject matter nor for the intricacies of the problem that was faced nor for the way solutions were reached nor for the interactions of the people nor for the way politics played a nasty part in the proceedings nor for any of the myriad reasons for which any project can be fascinating. Nope, these projects were interesting for the realization they provided – the realization of how readily people accept their current situations without questioning what else might be done.
You see, in each of these projects I was working with people who, apparently, firmly believed in the old adage “You play the hand your dealt.” No, they never said those exact words. However, you could read it in their expressions and see it in their faces. They did not like the premise upon which much of the discussion was based, yet they forged ahead as if the fates had already finished that portion of life’s tapestry.
And the real shame was that the minute they accepted their fate, the minute they believed the tapestry was already woven, the minute they looked at their cards and tried to determine if a nine-high might be the best hand in the game, then the opportunity to gain advantage, the opportunity to determine what other alternatives might exist, the opportunity to actually use some creativity, was DOA.
No doubt, creativity is as much about limits as it is freedom. Some of the best creative ideas come with some of the greatest restrictions. However, giving up before the reality of those restrictions can be determined can result in some of the best ideas never being brought to the table.
You see, the game is not Stud Poker; it’s Draw Poker.
While in some instance you may have to play the exact hand you’re dealt, there are far more times when you have the option of throwing a few of those cards out and trying for something different. That’s not to say the new cards will be better, but since it’s a no-ante game, you may as well make that draw.
That was the depressing part of those projects. I was sitting in meetings watching people make choices under the self-imposed restriction of things as they stood without them even exploring what else might still be available. In a couple of instances, I was able to provide input that helped them look at additional opportunities. In at least one other, I was not. In that situation, I tried to explain what might be accomplished if we looked at a different alternative. We will never know if there was value to that approach; the suggestion was unceremoniously shot down because “they would never give us the budget for it.”
They folded without making that extra draw.
Viable solutions, value-add solutions, genuinely beneficial solutions require creativity. Creativity has many wellsprings, and one of the strongest comes from dumping your preconceived notions related to the assumptions and basic premises you are required to accept.
Draw three cards. Draw two and keep the ace kicker. If you got a straight, keep it. Draw one card and make them believe you have four-of-a-kind. And, if the rules allow it, throw out all five of those cards you were dealt and draw a brand new hand. Because there is a good chance that, as you look for something new, something more creative will be accomplished.
And never sit down to a game of Draw Poker thinking you have to play Stud.