Kick Out the Ladder

By Jim Anderson, February 22, 2016
Kick Out the Ladder

I believe that human beings are inherently wired to solve problems. To dream, to create, to kick out the ladder, to iterate, and to improve.

I’m having a ‘kick out the ladder’ moment right now. No, seriously. My whole team is.

When you're faced with a challenge as a team, you must change and you must evolve. You must find a way to do things differently than you ever have before. You might need to ‘kick out the ladder.’

What’s that? You’ve never heard that phrase before? Well, do yourself a favor and take the next few moments to watch this clip:

Honda has been on the short list of my very favorite companies for a long time. This isn’t just because of the sweet Rebel 250 motorcycle that I bought years ago, or the VTX1300 motorcycle that I have my eye on today. It’s because of the mindset of improvement and innovation that is ingrained into the Honda company culture. :

As many of you know, BrainStorm is in a season of real growth. What that means for me and my team is that we are constantly looking to find new ways to scale our content development efforts in order to keep up with the demand for fresh content.

Software has become more iterative than in years past. As such, we’re expanding our product offerings, which adds to our team’s need to produce great content that is as engaging as it is informative.

In times such as these, I’ve found success by applying several principles:


Working in silos is not cool. Last week when we noticed we had a problem that needed to be quickly addressed, our team decided to have a working meeting to collaborate and tackle it head on. We picked up the phone, ordered a pizza (we all committed to work through lunch!), brought our computers with us, and began taking a divide-and-conquer approach to the issue. Collaborating with others also helps to share tribal knowledge, eliminate vacuums, and spread skill sets throughout the organization.


Sometimes the problem we face requires us to take a step back, weigh the issue, and look at the problem in a new light. Oftentimes the best and brightest solutions are reached in this manner. Most of the incredible innovations of our time came about as a response to solving a specific problem. Kicking out the ladder sparks creativity and ingenuity, and gets us to think with different parts of our brain which often leads to fresh, new ideas.


Without vision, organizations and teams fly blindly. We have great vision at BrainStorm that leads and guides the daily work that we do. As an organization, we are ‘changing the way the world works’ and everything we do supports that vision. As a product development team, we are led by creating learning products that center around workload-specific and productivity learning paths. Every product we create, every live event we produce, every video script we write, every training that we facilitate is driven by the vision of those learning paths.

Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson leads the Product Development team at BrainStorm, Inc. and is passionate about technology and learning. He puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you. The only difference is that once his pants are on he makes gold records. He also loves cinema, photography, and getting outdoors with his wife and kids. Drop him a line at 

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