Davis at REACH: ‘Use Constraints to Come Up with Solutions’

Andrew Davis, author and CEO of Monumental Shift Inc.
Andrew Davis, author and CEO of Monumental Shift Inc.

“The cube of creativity” was in focus during REACH 2022 in Palm Desert, CA as Andrew Davis — author and CEO of Monumental Shift Inc. — discussed “inside the box” thinking and “embracing constraints” strategy on the last day of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ annual conference.

(View/download conference and event photos from the REACH 2022 Photo Gallery)

“Plan your work — and work your plan” is normal-course thinking for many business and organizational leaders. But the way these plans come together is usually chaotic and can set credit unions back a few steps, all in the name of moving forward. Timelines and deadlines are oftentimes pushed back, and budgets are overextended.

Why does this happen?

“Maybe it’s not the plan that’s most valuable,” Davis said. “Maybe it’s the unlimited possibilities we discuss in those planning and brainstorming meetings that are most valuable.”

His point: constraints breed the creativity professionals and leaders are looking for as they dive into new challenges. The heavier the constraint, the more creative individuals become in the workplace.

“The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to ask: What happens when every business in the world is faced with the exact same disruptive forces?,” Davis said. “Some floundered and struggled to survive, but others saw success.”

Davis discussed how legacy and stellar businesses and brands were oftentimes born out of the worst of times. Executives can use constraints to fuel growth and drive better outcomes, with no global pandemic required. He said small bets with massive constraints can yield outsized results.

A notable 2021 business survey asked CEOs across the globe how they were progressing on their pre-pandemic digital transformation plans. The average response given was that organizations and companies were an astounding “seven years ahead of schedule” — an amazing adaptation.

“Parkinson’s Law says that your work expands to the time you’ve allotted,” Davis said. “But this doesn’t explain nearly everything happening during the pandemic. In fact, what we saw during the pandemic was very, very different.”

What did so many companies and organizations have in common during the pandemic and thereafter? They didn’t go looking for “outside of the box” thinking, he said. They started asking their audience, their customers, and inviting employees to give them simple ideas on how they could execute operations in a specific way.

Embracing constraints takes professionals and leaders into new ideas to power their teams. Leaders can do this by: eliminating the unnecessary, defining the outcome, limiting the options, and raising the stakes. Within these parameters, they should remember they will encounter stress, panic and confusion on the way to achieving progress.

“You need the cube of creativity to start thinking inside the box,” Davis added. “Use constraints to come up with solutions.”

Stay Engaged During REACH
Attendees and League staff will be sharing photos, comments and memories through Twitter (@CUatREACH), LinkedIn (#CUatREACH), and the REACH 2022 Photo Gallery. 

REACH is one of the credit union industry’s premier annual events, attracting leaders and system partners from across California, Nevada and the United States. This year it’s held from Nov. 1 – 4 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, CA!

Pin It