I have invented another new word: ‘Squeezestep’.
The dictionary of the future will define a ‘squeezestep as: Actively breaking down into smaller, more compelling steps in any change you require others to take.
It implies there is an onus on anyone engaged with change within an organisation or community to recognise the need for making change easier for the other person.
Creativity fundamentally works in the same way as if you were making a snowball. It is an incremental dynamic where you add one thing to another, and another, and another. Every idea you create is a stepping stone to take you somewhere different.
Making small steps is far less frightening than making big ones. It’s far easier, and also gives you more options, for example to shuffle to the right or left, forwards or backwards rather than to make just one massive leap forward.
Nature also works by following the line of least resistance; a river does not flow in a straight line. In your strategy you don’t need to identify the straightest line between you and your objective. You need to identify lines of least resistance.
These lines of least resistance are identified by the easiest squeezstep forward. By being prepared to make many different probes forward – and also being flexible enough to go back and start another route if necessary, you can overcome the biggest obstacles.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time is the old gag, but it’s perfectly true in your game plan when tackling any big task you face.
One of the key reasons why an idea, a new business venture, or a lifestyle change is unsuccessful is that you may have been required to make too many steps. Equally, it may have required the prospective user, customer or person to immediately embrace your idea, to travel too far for their small steps.
When you have an idea in your head, the tendency is for it to be in concrete detail in your mind. The picture is a vivid, yet self-contained vision. But it fails to take into account the niggling little things, the minor interventions, hurdles and diversions that people have to overcome to also get to your destination.
Whenever you have an idea you need to ask yourself beautiful questions such as: What are the small steps I need to ask people to make? and what squeezesteps do I need to introduce to make the change happen?
You can diagnose the optimum step ladder for people to reach the place where you are at by using these four steps:
1. When looking at the detail of your situation, explore beyond its immediate features, identify its benefits – what it does for you, both on a practical and emotional level and the inter-relationship between different elements of your situation.
2. In what ways can you go the extra yard compared to what is already being offered?
3. What niches are there to the left or the right, foreground or rear of your situation can you take advantage of?
4. Making, consuming and experiencing as many squeezesteps as possible expands the range of opportunities available to you and gives you more to think flexibly around.
Taking squeezesteps helps your flexible thinking move quicker. It can also bring you dividends for you when you least expect.