By now you’ve all befitted from the experience and generosity of my Twitter #kaizenblog chat co-host Elli St. George Godfrey. If you don’t follow her, make sure you add her handle to your stream @3keyscoach — you can thank me later.
With Elli, we’ve been able to tackle more conversations from differing points of view — I think about branding and behavior from a customer experience and contextual relationship building point of view, she works deeply with the entrepreneurial aspects of leadership.
Ever since we started brainstorming topics for our weekly chats both by email and phone, I’ve been able to think more crisply about iterative growth and momentum, which are critical components of strategy. The coach in Elli is a perfect counterbalance for my creative spark — as I said the other day, I can go from zero to Italian in no time.
By having different views of issues and topics, we can teach and learn at the same time — learning to communicate through these differences has been the most rewarding part of our collaboration. Thank you, Elli.
Differences are goodYou heard me say it more than once, stay soft on people while you take a hard look at the issues. Intellectual challenges force us to move from our status quo mode to a more active stance. There is a third option between aligning with your beliefs, and stand ready to articulate why, and changing your mind: it’s called maturity.
It’s that ability to hold two opposing views in mind and weigh them on their merits, even as we recognize that we have formed an emotional attachment to one of them. This is what I call critical thinking and it’s becoming a rare and precious gift, more necessary than social proofing.
Differences are good.
Dealing with others on their terms
You probably have an inkling that I think very deeply about issues. It comes from the introverted side of me. Many who spend a lot of time online become used to being in their own company and tend to develop a sort of tunnel vision on issues — seeing what is in front of them and how they think about it.
However, I find that to become more productive and attractive as a business person, one needs to shift their thinking to building a context of awareness. Yes, that means you need to become more self-aware, too. Learning not to carry one’s own issues as shields to block the other, for example.
This is the proverbial putting yourself in their shoes.
Developing an inquisitive mindFrom Wikipedia: Critical thinking involves determining the meaning and significance of what is observed or expressed, or, concerning a given inference or argument, determining whether there is adequate justification to accept the conclusion as true.
This means the:
“skilled, active, interpretation and evaluation of observations, communications, information, and argumentation,”
or if you prefer it,
“the careful, deliberate determination of whether one should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim and the degree of confidence with which one accepts or rejects it.”
Are you taking the time to examine problems and raise important questions in business? Are you a critical thinker?
5 characteristics of a critical thinker
A journalist taught me about critical thinking and writing/editing. It’s important to vet and uncover more than one side to a story. See if you or your business associates have one or more of these characteristics (adapted from the Wikipedia entry). Do you:
- raise important questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
- gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
- come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
- think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, your assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
- communicate effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems; without being unduly influenced by others’ thinking on the topic.
These abilities are critical in business strategy — and in life. I particularly like the concept of suspending judgment.
Two trends that worry me about over reliance on technology and swimming in the same pool with a very small and “converted” group of people is that the only way to create a ripple or have an effect/stand out is either by feeding the insecurity monster and forgo respect and civility, or borrowing too readily the idea of another.
Our chat tomorrow is designed to invite you to embrace critical thinking as a vital part of effective business strategy. We would be honored if you made the time to participate and bring your point of view. See who else is there.
See who else is there and make sure you follow Elli @3keyscoach <—