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The Most Valuable Skill In Difficult Times Is Lateral Thinking—Here’s How To Do It

The value of lateral thinking

Lateral thinking can bear huge dividends in certain parts of a business.

  • In finance, there are seldom new approaches to fundraising being considered as part of business continuity planning. However, there are many opportunities to think outside the box and solve problems.
  • People management is another area. The question to consider in HR is how to build talent pools for the future, and how to help people learn quickly and well.

The critical point is this: it does not matter where you work or what you do, the ability to problem-solve and think critically is an increasingly in-demand skill, especially in times of change or crisis.

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The Most Valuable Skill In Difficult Times Is Lateral Thinking—Here’s How To Do It

The Most Valuable Skill In Difficult Times Is Lateral Thinking—Here’s How To Do It

https://www.forbes.com/sites/phillewis1/2020/03/20/the-most-valuable-skill-in-difficult-times-is-lateral-thinking-heres-how-to-do-it/#43da184157a9

forbes.com

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Key Ideas

Lateral thinking

Lateral thinking refers to a person's capacity to address problems by developing original answers to difficult questions.

This is the essence of creativity. All organizations benefit from creative solutions when traditional solutions fall short.

The value of lateral thinking

Lateral thinking can bear huge dividends in certain parts of a business.

  • In finance, there are seldom new approaches to fundraising being considered as part of business continuity planning. However, there are many opportunities to think outside the box and solve problems.
  • People management is another area. The question to consider in HR is how to build talent pools for the future, and how to help people learn quickly and well.

The critical point is this: it does not matter where you work or what you do, the ability to problem-solve and think critically is an increasingly in-demand skill, especially in times of change or crisis.

Pick a transitional object for inspiration

A transitional object is someone or something with certain characteristics or qualities you can use as inspiration for new ideas.

For example, "What would Bruce Lee do?" He taught the importance of using the energy of your attacker. How might this inform your strategy?

Consider the incorrect answer

To challenge traditional thinking, ask, "what's the one thing we absolutely should not do in this situation?" and then consider it as an advisable course of action.

When innovating, it can be easier to go way out and wind back than to try solving problems by repeatedly starting from a conservative point.

Challenge your organization's received lnowledge

Most strategies and tactics involve doing more things in ever-shorter time. It reduces the impact while burning people out.

To stimulate new thinking, ask, "what would happen if we stopped doing the following?" It will challenge your organization's received wisdom about resource deployment, which could be beneficial.

Reframe your business plot

All narratives are about a very small number of basic plots, namely: Quest, voyage and return, rebirth, comedy, tragedy, overcoming the monster, rags to riches. And they apply to more than just fiction writers.

Consider which plot currently underpins your business and rewrite the future. Many leaders unconsciously follow a "tragedy" plot in times of crisis, but reframing your struggles as "voyage and return," you may experience a strategic shift that an exercise in lateral thinking helps you to achieve.

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