I spend significant time working with clients on their strategic thinking. Many of my best clients are CEOs and Managing Directors who are paid for their decision making abilities. As their coach, I am challenged to help them make their best decisions. How can I help them move from their pragmatic side to become more intuitive in their decision making processes? What have I learned in working with many of the world’s best strategic thinkers? How to help them become more creative!
I have several ideas that can help you expand your decision making ability to find more creative solutions for your organization’s most challenging decisions. I use these tools to complement their critical thinking and analytical abilities.
The first idea is to ask questions to get people to look closer at their own conclusions. A good question at the right time can get even the most powerful mind to stop. I try to ask questions that change the direction my clients might be coming from or provide them a different perspective to see things from a different angle. Once I ask the question, I remain silent until they answer. The pause can seem to last for hours, but most times its only minutes.
The second idea is to set up an environment where people feel safe from being told they’re wrong. I make sure all the people in the decision process know that we are all trying to get the best answer for the problem. Yes, I used the word problem, not challenge. I know what you all heard, but if something is going to hit the fan, I don’t want my decision to hinge on political correctness or a word that someone is using to denote a given circumstance or situation. Having yourself and others be real can spell the difference between a good solution and a great one. My clients don’t pay for good decisions. Developing a safe and creative environment is critical to our success.
The third idea is my preferred strategy, but sometimes it takes time to build trust before you use it. I call it the expand strategy. I challenge my clients to think bigger and then bigger again. When I was taught how to use this strategy, it included taking people out of their linear thinking to WOW! To use this strategy you must color outside the lines. This strategy is a game-changer. An example of this strategy in action was the Apple iPod, when it first came out. It was a radical redesign of the music industry. This kind of solution can come from many hours and months of thinking, or can come from a quick visit to the shower. How do we expand the creative possibilities through our learning process?
If you would like to know more about being creative and innovative you might also enjoy my article Can Entrepreneurs Use a Discovery Process to Create Innovation DNA?
What you need to know is it changes the way you look at the problem and, ultimately, provides a greater solution than you could even imagine. I hope we got you wondering how to become better at experiential innovation. It will help you become more creative. Come back Thursday, when we begin sharing the process and the tools you’ll need to expand your learning to create the breakthroughs you want on a regular basis. See you here on Friday!