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

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Traditional vs Lateral Thinking
  • Traditional thinking: is vertical and the process flows in a logical manner toward a conclusion, based on available information.
  • Lateral thinking: is horizontal and the p...
2 Stages of Thinking
  1. The perceived stage, where the brain focuses on identifying a certain pattern (a way in which the brain frames the environment).
  2. The second stage uses that pattern and builds upon it to reach a conclusion. 

But to get better at identifying patterns and prevent errors in the first stage, we need to develop our lateral thinking.

Learning to Think Laterally
  • Be aware of how your brain processes information and how it identifies patterns.
  • Don't shut out all the outside stimuli and allow some form of randomness into your day. This could expose you to new insights.
  • Consider alternative approaches and solutions to problems, even if you think you found the apparently suitable one.
  • Deliberately alternate available options (do the opposite of an implied direction, reverse processes, etc.) This could expose you to new insights and tools to create solutions with.
Inability to distinguish

We tend to assume that confident people have more potential for leadership. 

However, there is little overlap between how good people think they are at something, and how good the...

Charismatic individuals

We seem to want leaders who are charming and entertaining, but a stand-up comedian is not the same as an effective leader.

The best leaders are humble rather than charismatic, to the point of being boring.

Narcissistic individuals

We've always admired famous people, but our admiration for people who admire themselves is on the rise. But true leaders keep their narcissism in check.

Popular advice focuses on loving yourself above all else. And this creates leaders who are unaware of their limitations. They see leadership as an entitlement. 

one more idea

Seven universal plots
Seven universal plots

There are only seven plots that are so fundamental to the way we tell stories that every storyteller uses one of them: Overcoming Monsters, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return Rebirth,...

Economic history

Looking for a few universal plot patterns reveals things fundamental to how all people think, which are likely to be repeated in the future and relevant to your own situation. This idea also applies to how the economy works.

Economic history can seem complicated because it's part of politics, psychology, sociology, criminology, biology, military, technology, education, finance, etc. But within all that complexity is a lot of similarities.

The lens to look through
  • People seem to want the same economic things – security, power, admiration, fulfillment.
  • They tend to use the same tactics to acquire those things - work, risk, incentives, persuasion, theft, control.
  • They tend to fall for the same flaws pursuing those things - overconfidence, pessimism, underestimating how fast things can change, etc.

Although economic history may seem complicated, there are only a small number of broad story plots throughout the world and throughout time.

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