12 Exercises to Strengthen a Stretch with existing Resources

Most of the time individuals and organizations alike are not happy with existing resources and are always asking for more stuff. However a new refreshing take has been provided by Scott Sonenshein in the book Stretch. The main thesis is “You already have everything you need to succeed in business and life, ready for you to unlock and activate. Stop worrying about what you don’t have, and appreciate what you do have. Think and act as if success is possible, then unleash your creativity to get there.”I loved the chapter which talked about the different strategies to stretch. Here they are with a brief interpretation of each.
Expand what you already have – The example of Theodore Geisel is given who set a bet of 50 dollars he could write a book with just 50 unique words. With only fifty unique words he created the famous Green Eggs and Ham. The main takeaway is to always think of alternatives on how to get the most out of your available resources.
Find a Sleeping Beauty – It is mentioned here that most organizational renewals come from hidden assets. One of Einstein’s influential papers in 1935 didn't become widely cited until sixty years later. What personal resources and organizational have been shelved for years? Look at those as opportunities.
Go Explore – Steve jobs said the difference between you and your dumb friend is the bag of experiences you carry with you. Some ways to explore are to read something different, attend conferences outside your industry, go have lunch with someone in a different industry and keep getting new experiences. This strategy is my favorite and we call can benefit from expanding our horizons.
Take a Break – People diagnosed with ADHD tend to score higher in creativity assessments because they let their mind wander. You can do this by going for a walk in natural surroundings. You can also spend some time doing nothing. This lets your right brain get active coming up with some great ideas.
Pick new neighbors –Identify one stretcher you admire and commit to spending time win them. Always be interested to meet new people who may not even be in your industry. This also creates some adventure in your life.
 Appreciate –Find time once a week to write five things about your life that you are grateful for. It is an excellent idea to maintain journals where you record everything you are grateful for. This is the best way to get instant happiness.
 Shop your closet – Shop your closet look around the office and take stock of the unnoticed or underutilized talents and skills your team has. Instead of asking for new people you should look at the amazing talent of the existing team.
 Plan backward –Start a project work toward a goal like taking a trip without a plan. Keep a journal of what you did but only after doing it. Then journal what new things you learned and what did you gain by not planning. The point is to take action and not spend endless hours planning.
Scramble the back row – Here example of Bobby Fischer is mentioned where he says chess has become too programmed because everyone is already mentally prepared with moves by studying past masters. We need to scramble the pieces to invoke creativity. If we are too much on autopilot it might be time to scramble our back toes like putting different people on your team, running your meeting from a different place and take a different route to work.
Make midyear resolutions – This is good because most of us by June or July have forgotten our resolutions. So reaffirm your resolutions mid-year. This will be a good time to evaluate how far you have come from Jan.
Break it down –. Always look at a big goal and ask can it be broken down further. Always break down big goals into smaller increments. All big goals seem insurmountable till we break it down to manageable pieces.
Turn Trash into treasure –. Keep a benefits diary list which has key events, activities and experiences. Next to each item write at least one unexpected benefit. This helps in identifying the good in everything you have. Again the point is to make the most of what you have.
There you have it some great strategies to Stretch. It is a wonderfully researched book which will stand the test of time.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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