Get out of the office (GOOF) for new business insights.  Working harder, smarter, and longer hours is not always the solution to business problems.  I find that getting out of the office helps me to see things from a fresh perspective. Unexpected parallels and insights emerge, making me more productive, accelerating a project underway, or understanding a complex situation.

I saw the movie “Ford v Ferrari”. You may think it is a story about automobile racing, and it is.  But it is about so much more. It’s about business innovation and corporate antibodies. POW!  What an insight.

Ford had big ambitions to beat Ferrari for world stage recognition. Henry Ford II turned to an upstart- startup Carroll Shelby for off-the-charts ideas. This innovative “foreigner” faced strong internal antibodies to neutralize it, in the form of highly valued Sr VP Leo Beebe.

We all know what an antibody is.  It’s a blood protein generated in reaction to a foreign protein in order to neutralize it.  No, this is not a biology lesson.  But corporate antibodies are known fighters against new ideas. Antibody Leo Beebe recognized the Carroll Shelby “threat” and tried to neutralize it.  When that didn’t work, Beebe attempted to “complement” the threat by inserting himself in organizational control.  If that’s not a corporate antibody, I don’t know what is.

Many companies from biotech to high tech acquire small innovative companies to achieve lofty goals.  Ford’s innovation acquisition strategy is alive and well today.  Just look at some 2019 acquisitions by Salesforce, Google, and Apple or Merck, Roche, and Pfizer. If you are in a company that grows or acquires innovation, are you an antibody or an enabler?  Do you foster innovation or provide a barrier to its progress?  Do you ask why? Or exclaim ‘why not’?

The singular focus of Shelby’s upstart-startup is energizing.  The critical role of every player on the team was valued. Startup players wear many hats, like Ken Miles, from mechanic to designer to driver.  Are you an innovator or an imitator?  Do you pioneer new ideas and processes or venerate the tried-and-true? Do you ask why? Or exclaim ‘why not’?

I don’t go to movies very often.  But this GOOF was beyond my wildest expectations.  I got to sit in the cockpit, on the race course, with my heart pounding.  I came away with amazing business insights.

Next Monday morning, in addition to talking about what you DID over the weekend (your GOOF), talk with your co-workers about new ideas, new perspective, and what you learned about business on your GOOF.  There are insights hidden everywhere!  You may like playing golf or soccer … which aren’t my thing.  I GOOF to cycle, hike, ski, and fly. In fact, skiing saved my career many years ago … more about that in a future blog.

Share your GOOF Business Insight in the comments, if you dare.