There is a difference between being thrust into uncertainty and navigating through it without being immobilized. Effective leaders use tools that everyone has access to, but few seldom employ.
- They think in terms of possibility by asking, If?
- They think of discernment by asking, Which?
- They consider time by asking, When?
- They consider place by asking, Where?
- They consider the thing itself by asking, What?
- They think of motive by asking, Why?
- They consider the means by asking, How?
- They think about the person or group by asking, Who?
Equipped with these questions and deep curiosity to uncover the answers, you can discover intriguing alternatives and new ways of facing old problems. As an effective leader and intelligent manager, you regularly seek out opportunities for continuous improvement. Unless you are an egomaniac who thinks you can do no wrong, you probably have a few areas of focus already identified this year. Pick one that looks like it may have the greatest potential of saving you time, money, and future agony if it were solved, enhanced, or reimagined. This is your “It.”
On the top of a blank page or screen, ask yourself, “How can I make (“It”) better?”
Next, explore the six ways described below, and list ten or more different ways of looking at your “It.” You are brainstorming, so be sure to capture all your ideas without judgment, regardless of how off the wall or infeasible they may first sound.
Think of ten ways you could:
- Combine “It” with something else
- Adapt “It” to be more useful
- Substitute “It” for something else (or something else for “It”)
- Magnify “It” to make it bigger
- Shrink “It” to make it smaller
- Rearrange “It” to look at it from a different angle?
When you list ten ideas with each method — the crazier, the better, you will have 60 new ideas you would not have come up with otherwise.
Now, rate those ideas, and decide which ones you think could be effective and relatively easy to implement. You will likely find four to six contenders.
You only need one.
One good idea effectively acted on can solve your problem and improve your life.
Download the free Creative Thinking Worksheet from Karl Bimshas Consulting.
Boston-bred and California-chilled Karl Bimshas is the leadership consultant, author, and podcast host who collaborates with underestimated professionals who want to become confident, competent leaders in their field without becoming a jerk.
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