“Speech is somewhere between thought and action, and too often offered as a substitution for both.” – Edward de Bono
If I were to juxtapose the infamous words of René Descartes the French mathematician, “I think, therefore I am,” it would come out as “I am, therefore I think.” But that is not actually true in this day and age. It’s too simplistic and therefore ignorant of What Could Be™?
I think more applicable is the Mark Twain quote, “It’s not what we don’t know that keeps us so ignorant, it’s what we know that isn’t so.”
In other words, whatever exists today needs to be improved in the near future, if you align yourself with the WaterLogic™ scheme of continuous flow. The opposing view, RockLogic™ naturally says ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’! However no future can be determined without understanding the very basic function of the brain that serves every one of us consciously or unconsciously, daily.
The very beginning of thought, is the perception of incoming data. The brain by its very nature of asymmetrical self-organizing design, puts incoming data from our various senses into familiar [only to the brain] patterns [we call it memory] thereby introducing a pre-disposition of familiarity through its archiving.
This bias results in repeatable data placement resulting in a one-of-a-kind knowledge base that ultimately affects our personal behavior, such as habits, mind-sets and any developed belief system. Predispositions from our brain’s activities greatly influence our conscious Mind and presence we call the EG0!
Briefly, this means that our knowledge base is not necessarily accurate or without limiting misinformation. We need to understand this, while still viewing our brain as a marvelous instrument full of cognitive treasures.
Thinking should not be taken for granted but instead should be continuously nurtured and improved.
Thinking is one aspect of intelligence that can be improved by learning and activity. Personal knowledge bases can be made more accurate and efficient through the use of proper and systematic exercises and tools.
Thinking is a crucial component in today’s world is such venues as teamwork and collaboration; creative and generative thought; determining what direction and goals you want to achieve with thinking and ultimately improved decision-making. This proposition of altering thinking may appear to be complicated and initially complex. However the right kind of thinking focused on the right objective, supported by practice can be developed into a skill that is not only more productive and efficient but can be executed in reduced time-frames.
The meaning of Critical Thinking has been hijacked by vernacular ‘varmits’ who want you to believe that this encompasses multiple thinking processes or all you should ever consider. Broad spectrum thinking should more aptly be called CRUCIAL!, not critical. The actual Greek origin of critical, ‘kritikos’ confines its meaning to judgmental and censorial. Not bad intentions, but to be accurately applied it must be separated from broad spectrum thinking focused on either the part or the whole of WHAT IS™ [already existing]. The originally intended critical aspect is valid and sometimes useful. In application it can appear confrontive and off-putting and is often put aside in favor of a more populist tone.
Constructive thought also builds upon what already exists, but too often assumes that some un-scrutinized goals are sacred and therefore the easiest and quickest means for acceptance is to meet the expectations [in place] of the governing body. This, however, can be the basis of GroupThink™, the focus of study by Dr. Janus that determined that decision-making bodies seek for coalition/agreement more than challenging of good, better, best regardless of the focus!
The most efficient means for Creative Thinking [What could Be™] are broader comprehension, reasonableness, openness, and recognition of the emotional aspect.
Unleash the smarts within your organization.
Become an advocate for continuous Improvement. Protect the thinking operatives in the organization from criticism based on mind-set and fear of risk.
Be the reasonable Link between your organizations strategic plan and thinking employees. Identify wants/aspirations vs. vision/needs. Be part of the prioritization of those elements of the strategic plan and also facilitate the conversion of those itemized elements into focuses and aims for your thinkers.
This is an ideal position and influence to change the rules. Some will affect policy within and many will reach the organization’s constituency—its suppliers and customers.
Consider introducing the mantra—adaptability, as in flexibility and willingness to Improve. Look ahead, not just behind. Create the vision.
Befriend the thrift side of your organization, Finance and Big Data. Invite them into collaboration at the early stages of thinking or specifically conceptualizing the crucial aims and goals. Embrace determinations from Data [albeit cautiously]… but mindful of parts like Risks & Tensions.
Bring middle management on board as co-sponsors of thinking Improvement — encourage them to make that their new Mantra. Middle managers are the point of contact and interpreters for the organizational response. Or should be!
Give them visionary assignments: What could be? vs. What is! Involve them and their confidants in sharing the view of the horizon, as they see it. Their co-sponsorship can and will become co-authorship.
Broadcast success across the enterprise on a continuous basis. This is mostly attitudinal as a focus, but it has the most effect on the employee culture. Modeling works! Demonstrate a successful and safe path to contribution that comes back to the employee(s) and you have a winner.
Tie the individual employee’s efforts to the Strategic Plan.
This is the broadest failure in the organizational sector to-date. Strategic plans are cobbled [ GroupThink™] in a vacuum designed to trickle down to the ’masses’ from about 30,000 feet’. No connection to the reality of local input, usually. The ‘masses’ read between the lines to see what it is that they really have to accomplish—far short of the plan’s vision—to maintain whatever security they have in the organization [C.Y.A. in the common vernacular].
Get ‘big data’ and human resources to buy-in to the opportunities of improvement. It may be hard to believe, but they could be your next best friend and thinking advocates.
From my early experience, when I could convince data analysis that I could minimize risk I might get their cooperation. If not? No accounting
That position is changing. Thrift, which is in part working capital and in another part people development understands the opportunity to exercise its role in developing internal growth. Hence, invite Thrift to participate in the creation of alternative means to address any market challenges that arise. Using well-designed, shared processes will result in shared vision and ultimately more and varied resources available to think through the issue and accomplish the most appropriate aims and goals.
Use a systematic approach and current communication technology for designing , connecting , and quantifying the combined contributions resulting from the improved link between middle management and its employees. There are several software programs that can seamlessly integrate with your in-house systems, but once again bringing big data in early makes the transformation easier.
The depth of the measurement can be from the anecdotal to the detailed. It depends on how serious the initiative is and how you want the employees to internalize it. You want to be tracking individual and collective progress through process. Increasing the cooperation, through trust and improved outcome, of manager and employee increases your odds for a positive transformation. And the next!
Acknowledge just how positively the manager and employee’s initiatives impacted the corporate bottom line by every possible means. Create, promote and check your customer report cards [Their rating of your performance]. This is the best assurance that you will survive your success.
Whether you take the initiative or not, customers will, via their own means. More importantly their response will be good-bad-indifferent to your present interests and many interests to come.
Continuous scrutiny of your organization’s performance is not threatening or negative.
The key is in the design and details. Waiting for periodic H.R. reviews is too little, too late. A small team of employees, well oriented to the policies and operations around the existing process are more than adequate through comprehensive challenge to identify the parts or the whole of an existing process that needs design review.
You will note that I have not used the term problem. The problem is 100% of What Is!™ thinking or Rock Logic.™ Problems take up about 80% of our scrutiny and improvement efforts [time+money]. We are left with 20% to re-design practices and processes to minimize problems or better yet, develop new and better approaches via What Could Be?
Production improvement initiatives, regardless of repute deliver most of their benefits from addressing What Is™! They seek, identify what is wrong and they get rid of it. Not all wrong, but inadequate.
Therefore to benefit from a better balance in scrutiny and challenge, our objectives must shift to an alternative course with assurances that the new outcome will be improved. Continuously! Before it becomes a problem.
What is your preference of focus, What Is? Or is it What Could Be?