“The Blue Suit:” Outside the Box Thinking

One of the leadership skills which develops the most over time is “precognition.” This is an almost intuitive sense which begins to tackle a challenge subconsciously. You may have seen professional development sessions offering “role-playing” or “simulations.” Those types of PD are meant to enhance precog abilities, but they fall short because they lack real-world stakes. It takes years of meaningful experiences to develop this sense although the skill builds faster for very open-minded and creative thinkers. The ultimate attainment of precognition is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the person/group/etc. that is presenting the problem, which requires looking at the issue through their lens. Here’s a quick assessment of your precog abilities. Read the following anecdote. When finished, do a quick self-analysis of how you processed the story in your own mind. How outside the box was your thinking?

An old lady was very upset as her husband Albert had just passed away. She went to the undertakers to have one last look at her dearly departed husband. The instant she saw him she started crying. The mortician walked over to comfort her. Through her tears she explained that she was upset because her dearest Albert was wearing a black suit, and it was his fervent wish to be buried in a blue suit. The mortician apologized and explained that traditionally they always put bodies in a black suit, but he’d see what he could arrange.

The next day she returned to the funeral parlor to have one last moment with Albert before the funeral the following day. When the mortician pulled back the curtain, she managed a smile through her tears as Albert was resplendent in a smart blue suit. She said to the mortician, “Wonderful, wonderful, but where did you get that beautiful suit?”

“Well, yesterday afternoon after you left, a man about your husband’s size was brought in and he was wearing a blue suit,” the mortician replied. “His wife was quite upset because she wanted him buried in the traditional black suit.”

Albert’s wife smiled at the undertaker.

“After that,” he continued, “
I just switched the heads.”

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