Thinking for a change Part 2

Thinking for a change Part 2

Eleven Thinking Skills Every Successful Person Needs

Skill 1 : Get the big picture
How to get this skill ?

1. Don’t strive for certainty
Big picture thinkers are comfortable with ambiguity. They think broadly and can juggle many seemingly contradictory thoughts in their minds. Get in the habit of bringing together diverse concepts, accepting seemingly opposite points of views at the same time. Do not strive for harmony, strive for healthy productive conflict. In business for example, pursue purpose AND profit, embrace a fixed core ideology AND vigorous change and innovation etc.

2, Learn from every experience
Remain teachable. If you desire to be a big picture thinker, then get out there and try a lot of things, take a lot of chances, and take time to learn after every victory or defeat.

3. Gain insight from a variety of people
If you desire to broaden your thinking and see more of the big picture, then seek out counselors to help you. Be selective in the people you gain insight from.

4. Give yourself permission to expand your world
Read new books, visit new places, meet new people and learn new skills.

Skill 2 : Unleash the potential of focused thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Remove distractions
Maintain the discipline of practising your priorities. Don’t do the easy things first. Thus keeping distractions to a minimum.

2. Make time for focused thinking
It is not good to multi-task. Switching from task to task can cost up to 40% efficiency.

3. Keep items of focus before you
Keep high prorities in front of me and do it till you finish.

4. Set Goals
The purpose of goals is to focus your attention and give you direction, not to identify a final destination.

5. Question your progress
Take a good look at yourself from time to time to see whether you are actually making progress. Am I seeing a return for my investment of focused thinking time?
Skill 3 : Discover the joy of creative thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Remove creativity killers
If you think you have a great idea, don’t let anyone talk you out of it even if it sounds foolish. Don’t let yourself or anyon else subject you to creativity killers.

2. Think creativity by asking the right questions
Wrong questions shut down the process of creative thinking. To stimulate creative thinking, ask questions like
A) Why must it be done this way?
B) What is the root problem ?
C) What is the opposite ?
D) Why is it important?

3. Develop a creative environment

4. Spend time with other creative people

5. Get out of your box
The most effective way to help yourself get out of the box is to expose yourself to new paradigms. One way you can do that is by travelling to new places. Explore other cultures, countries and traditions.  Another way is to read on new subjects. Read broadly.
Skill 4 : Recognise the importance of realistic thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Develop an appreciation for truth
The truth will set you free – but first it will make you angry ! If you want to become a realistic thinker, however you need to be comfortable dealing wit ht the truth and facing it.

2. Do your homework
The process of realistic thinking starts with getting the facts. When you approach a problem, strip yourself of preconceived opinions and prejudice, assemble and lern the facts of the situation, make the decision which seems to you to be the most honest and then stick to it.

3. Think through the pros and cons

4. Picture the worst case scenario
If you picture the worst case and examine it honestly, then you really have experienced a reality check. You’re ready for anything.

5. Align your thinking with your resources
Looking at pros and cons and examining worst case scenarios will make you aware of any gaps between what you desire and what really is. Once you know what those gaps are, you can use your resources to fill them. After all, that’s what resources are for.


Skill 5 : Release the power of strategic thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Break down the issue
Yard by yard, life is hard; but inch by inch, its a cinch. The first step in strategic thinking is to break down an issue into smaller, more manageable parts so that you can focus on them more effectively.

2. Ask why before how
Eugene G. Grace says, “Thousands of engineers can design bridges, calculate strains and stresses, and draw up specifications for machines, but the great engineer is the man who can tell whether the bridge or machine should be built at all, where it should be built and when. Asking why helps you to think about all the reasons for decisions.

3. Identify the real issues and objectives
Too many people rush to solutions, and as a result they end up solving the wrong problem. How do you avoid that? By asking probing questions in an effort to expose the real isues.  Begin by asking, what else could be the real issue?  Once the real issues are identified, the solutions are often simple.

4. Review your resources

5. Develop your plan

6. Put the right people in the right place

7. Keep repeating the process
If you expect to solve any major problem once, you’re in for a disappointment. Little things- such as filing or shopping systematically can be won easily through sytems and personal discipline. But major issues need major strategic thinking time. The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare.

Skill 6 : Feel the energy of possibility thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Stop focusing on the impossiilities.

2. Stay away from the “Experts”
Heed the words of John Andrew Holmes, who asserted, “Never tell a young person that something cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impoossible to do that thing.

3. Look for possibilities in every situation

4. Dream one size bigger
Make your plans as fantastic as you like, because 25 years from now, they will seem mediocre.

5. Question the status quo
Most people want their lives to keep improving, yet they value peace and stability at the same time. People often forget that they can’t improve and still stay the same. Growth means change. If you want greater possibilities, you can’t settle for what you have now.

6. Find inspiration from great achievers

Skill 7 : Embrace the lessons of reflective thinking

How to get this skill ?

1. Set aside time for reflection
Greek philosopher Socrates observed, ” The unexamined life is not worth living.” For most people, however reflection and self examination doesn’t come naturally. It can be a fairly uncomfortable activity for a variety of reasons.

2. Remove yourself from distractions
Reflection requires solitude. Distraction and reflection simply don’t mix.

3. Regularly review your calendar or journal
Calendars and journals remind you of how you’ve spent your time, show you whether your activities match your priorities, and help you see whether you are making progress.

4. Ask the right questions
The value you receive from reflecting will depend on the kinds of questions you ask yourself. The better the questions, the more gold you will mine from your thinking.  When I reflect, I think in terms of my values, relationships and experiences.

5. Cement your learning through action
To do that, you must be intentional. When you read a good book, for example, there are always good thoughts, quotes or lessons that you can take away from it and use yourself. I always mark the takeaways in a book and then reread them when I’m done with the book.

Skill 8 : Question the acceptance of popular thinking

How to get this skill ?

1. Think before you follow
Challenging popular thinking requires a willingness to be unpopular and go outside of the norm. Following the tragedy of Sep 11.2011, few people willingly choose to travel by plane. But that was the best time to travel. Unpopular thinking, even when resulting in success, is largely underrated, unrecognized and misunderstood. It contains the seeds of vision and opportunity, and is required for all progress. You may not want to create change for its own sake, but you certainly don’t want to blindly follow.

2. Appreciate thinking different from your own
Spend time with people with different backgrounds, education levels, professional experiences, personal interests etc.

3. Continually question your own thinking
The greatest enemy to tomorrow’s success is sometimes today’s success.  In an organization, every tradition was originally a good idea – and perhaps even revolutionary. But every tradition may not be a good idea for the future. That’s why it’s important to challenge your own thinking and how everything is done now, then nothing will change for the better.

4. Try new things in new ways
One of the best ways to get out of the rut of your own thinking is to innovate. You can do that in little, everyday ways : Drive to work a different way from normal. Order an unfamiliar dish at your favourite restaurant. Ask a different colleague to help you with a familiar project.

5. Get used to being uncomfortable.

Skill 9 : Encourage the participation of shared thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Value the ideas of others
First, believe that the ideas of other people have value. If you don’t, your hands will be tied. Am I emotionally secure? People who lack confidence and worry about their status, position or power tend to reject the ideas of others, protect their turf, and keep people at bay. It takes a secure person to consider others’ ideas.

2. Move from competition to cooperation
Always be on the lookout for ideas. Be completely indiscriminate as to the source. A person who values cooperation desires to complete the ideas of others not compete with them.

3. Have an agenda when you meet
The more I respect the wisdom of the person, the more I listen. For example, when I meet with someone I’m mentoring, I let the person ask the questions, but I expect to do most of the talking. When I meet with someone who mentors me, I mostly keep my mouth shut.

4. Get the right people around the table
To get anything of value out of shared thinking, you need to have people around the table who bring something to the table.

5. Compensate good thinkers and collaborators well
Successful organizations practice shared thinking. As you recruit and hire, look for good thinkers who value others, have experience with the collaborative process, and are emotionally secure.

Skill 10 : Experience the satisfaction of unselfish thinking
How to get this skill ?

1. Put others first
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

2. Expose yourself to situations where people have needs
Act with impact – you’ve got to give to live ! According to Tod Barnhard, author of The Five Rituals of Wealth :
Give to everyone who asks. I firmly believe that our purpose in life is to try to make a difference in the lives of those around us… I give something – no matter how small – to everyone who asks me… It’s fun, especially if you don’t do it out of obligation. Believe me, it will change the way you think about yourself and about your money.

3. Give quietly or annonymously
Once you have learned to give of yourself, then the next step is to learn to give when you cannot receive anything in return. It is almost easier to give when you receive recognition for it than it is when no one is likely to know about it.

4. Invest in people intentionally
The people who love you would rather have you than what you can give them. If you want to become the kind of person who invests in people then consider others and their journey so that you can collaborate them. Each relationship is like a partnership created for mutual benefit.  As you go into any relationship, think about how you can invest in the other person so that it becomes a win-win situation.

5. Continually check your motives

Skill 11 : Enjoy the return of bottom line thinking

How to get this skill ?

1. Identify the real bottom line
The process of bottom-line thinking begins with knowing what you’re going after. It can be lofty as the big picture vision, mission or purpose of the organization.  If we could accomplish only one thing in the lifetime, what would it be??

2. Make the bottom line the point
Merck and Company, the global pharmaceutical corporation, has always seen itself as doing more than just producing products and making a profit. It desires to serve humanity. In the mid 1980s, the company developed a drug to cure river blindness, a disease that infects and cause blindness in millions of people, particularly in developing countries. While it was a good product, potential customers couldn’t afford to buy it So what did Merck do? It developed the drug anyway, and in 1987 announced that it would give the medicine free to anyone who needed it.

George W. Merck says,”We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow,and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear.

3. Create a strategic plan to achieve the bottom line
Bottom-line thinking achieves results. Therefore, it naturally follows that any plans that flow out of such thinking must die to the bottom line – and there can be only one, not two or three.

4. Align team members with the bottom line

5. Stick with one system and monitor results continually


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