March 23, 2006
Liz published this at 12:53 pm
No More Faster, Faster
We live in fast food culture, where now and yesterday seem to be the timing of every answer. “Faster, Faster,” was great when I was at the carnival as a child, but I’m not sure it’s the best answer for making decisions about my business or my future. I’m all for doing strategic deep thinking about important decisions, but our environment doesn’t do much to support or even to teach how to think deeply or strategically.
We sort everything into top ten lists. We find out the what of things and sometimes the how, but hardly ever the why. We ask for things done, but not necessarily done right. We stop looking as soon as we find the first answer. These are not the traits of a deep, strategic thinkers.
Thinking deeply and strategically isn’t popular, but it is valuable. The folks who can do it are prized and sought after. They are also incredibly secure. How do they get to the thoughts that are past the surface? Here are some of the things that strategic thinkers do. These are all things anyone can do.
- Go past the first answer. When you’re faced with a problem, once you find answer 1, keep looking for answers 2, 3, and 4.
- Get a friend to find the holes in your thinking. Pick someone who wasn’t involved in finding the solution. Anyone involved in the thinking can’t see the flaws in it.
- Set your thinking on the back burner and revisit it in an hour or so. This is the same concept as letting yourself sleep on it. Research has proved that it works. Tell yourself that you’re going to put the idea in your subconscious to work on it. I always touch the back of my head when I do this. When I return to the problem later, I find new information to work with.
- Try on your thinking as you try on your clothes. Remember, we’re outside of the box here. This might sound silly at first, but it works. Take an inventory of how the idea feels in your gut, in your fingers, and in your toes. If something doesn’t feel right, explore what that is. You’d be surprised how much knowledge you carry in the cells outside of your brain.
- Discount the obvious, and look for the invisible. Ask yourself outright, “What am I missing here?” When you find it, adjust your old solution to cover the new information too.
- If someone disagrees with your solution, include his or her thinking as part of the problem. This IS one case where two ideas can work to become more than the whole. Keep your own goal, but add the new ones to the mix. You’ll find the new solution stronger than the one you originally reached.
These are just a few ways to take your thinking deeper than what I call the “skin of the pudding.” I like to think deeply, because I like to know that my answer will stand when I have to defend it.
It might not be faster, faster, but it’s worth it to know that the answer will last and last.
What parts of your brand could use some strategic, deep thinking?
–ME “Liz” Strauss