Once, a man who was visiting a new village felt very hungry half way through his journey. He knocked at the doors of many houses, but the response was very unwelcoming. So he decided to change his strategy. He knocked the next house, and asked for food. When declined, he said, “Phew, and I thought you were lucky enough to learn the magic recipe from me”. This intrigued the house wife. “What magic recipe?” she asked. He replied in an enchanting tone, “Did you know that you can make porridge out of stones?”
In a matter of seconds, she got the stones, and the man set into action. He took water in a pot, and added the washed stones into it for cooking. “You know what?” he said, “This tastes even better with a little milk”. Who doesn’t like good food? So the lady was quick to give him the milk. “And now, a little bit of rice or semolina to give it a rich texture. Of course, what’s porridge without sugar?” he said.
Once the ingredients were cooked properly, he said, “The porridge is ready”, while throwing away the stone from the cooking pot.
It’s time again for our annual staff meeting day. The dance team decided to meet up after office to brainstorm on the show. I joined them too. Now don’t ask me what I’m doing in this group. My dancing career started and ended in UKG.
And here I am, after crossing more than quarter of my life, in a `Dance’ team. But don’t think that it was that dumb a team. I was probably the only black sheep. Others did have a decent little dance career to discuss (if not boast) about.
The team managed to churn out a song and now, the big challenge was choreographing. And what am I seeing in front of me? Even the trained dancers were clueless how to start. Call it starting trouble! Some could `imagine’ the step, but not do it, and some other person could tell what was wrong, but could not figure the right way.
This is when I adopted the stone porridge approach. “What about doing this step?” I asked. I just swirled my hands to make a somewhat `dancy’ step, and it clicked.
It meant a great start to the much distressed, starting trouble plagued group, that they unanimously agreed. “Hey. Let’s start with that”, said one of the girls. Once the ice was broken, the choreographer inside everyone bloomed to the full. So, on the third day, my task was to remove the stone from the porridge. And the team was quick enough to replace it with a more graceful step.
Whenever my team deals with a new topic, and is puzzled on where and how to make a start, the stone porridge approach has worked great. Start with a crappy idea, and let it just go on. It’s good enough to clear off the writers’ block, and usher in fresh and creative ideas. At the end of the day, just take away the stone, and your delicious porridge is ready!