But What If We Didn’t?

{Note: Team transformation stories from Polaris Institute members are published anonymously to allow the members to share openly and honestly. This story is from “Cynthia S.”)


I started out using the Polaris ProcessTM for myself personally. It really helped me to open up new opportunities. So, I decided to bring Polaris in to work with the leadership team in my company.

Ideas hiding in plain sight


First off, it was so powerful to be able to open up the minds of our leaders to how their brains, in an attempt to be efficient, block them from being able to see new possibilities. We have a highly functioning group, but the “gray squares” exercise was really eye-opening for everyone. That helped to set the tone that it’s totally normal to not be able to see new possibilities unless we work together as a team to find those ideas that are hiding in our blind spots.

The recruitment issue


One of the challenges we decided to tackle that day was the hiring of new people. Like many companies, we need more people and we were having difficulty getting enough good, new people on board. So, we took a look at the process we were using and challenged every step of it using the Polaris mindset.

As we worked through the steps, there was a point where we got to step 3. Step 3 was a critical step that several subsequent steps were built on, so everyone in the room agreed that step 3 was good as is and we started to move on to examine step 4. The facilitator stopped, however, and said, “I hear you that you have to do step 3, but what if you didn’t do it–at all?”

There is no way

For competitive reasons, I don’t want to share what our step 3 is, but I can tell you that the room erupted with reactions. The consensus was that there was NO WAY we could remove or skip step 3. No way. Other steps in the process were built on what came out of step 3. The whole process wouldn’t even work without step 3. “But what if there IS a way and we just can’t see it? What might that look like? Maybe there is something hiding there that just isn’t visible to us yet. Let’s try describing what that impossible thing that doesn’t exist might look like.”

Seeing the impossible

The next few minutes in our team meeting were pivotal and possibly trajectory-changing for our company. A new solution DID take shape. It was something so radical that, if successful, will shorten our entire process of finding, attracting, and on-boarding new people in our company by 80%! We are just beginning to implement the new idea but one thing is certain: our leadership team members are now big believers in the Polaris Institute and we are going to use it many, many times in the future. It’s a game changer.


Looking for a process to break open creativity and innovation in your team? Contact us to inquire about a transformative workshop today.

Recent Posts