Square One. The art of smarter beginnings.

iStock_000003737598XSmall.jpgSquare One is a lonely place.


It’s the uncomfortable sanctuary we return to after failed endeavors and other misadventures.  Like a busy highway rest stop, it’s not a place to linger. I may be in the minority, but I like square one.

The truth is most people don’t do square one very well. If they did, they wouldn't return to it so frequently. 

Yogi Berra supposedly said, “We’re lost, but at least we’re making good time.”  I think that sums up what most of us feel when we don’t stay at square one long enough. 
Recently, I asked a group of executives how they approached square one. 

10 executives, 10 different opinions on how to define square one.  But they all agreed who initiated the project set the framework for how a team proceeded.


Typically fewer questions were asked. Especially, the question “why?”  From minute one, people are in Yogi Berra mode – they are making good time and more importantly they’re not making waves.

A few years ago, I met a retired FBI agent.  I asked him if he ever met J. Edgar Hoover.  He said, “Yes, once.”  I walked into his office and shook his hand and left.  You didn't want do anything to get on his radar.”

Even the 9/11 Report can be summed up with two basic points, information was hoarded, not shared.  And nobody was asking the big questions.  Like “Why not?”

Try this experiment, next time you have Square One meeting – keep track of how many questions are asked.  Are you holding back your questions?  And if so, why? In the next entry, I will explore how many companies and individuals have used Square One thinking to achieve smarter and more successful outcomes.

And yes, you may get on the radar.  If that's a bad thing, we need to talk.  Any questions?

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