I Think I Think Better Thinking With Others?
I worked with a guy who we all flipped a little grief from time to time, because he had a tendency to think out loud. As he was wrestling with a decision, he would verbalize his thought process, taking all of us on a journey through the inner workings of his mind. His logic was always sound, he was known as a very strategic thinker, it was just his unique way in which he processed information. At times, I would just listen and at others, I would weigh in with my thoughts. But, I always found it interesting to have a front row seat to his linear thought progression.
As he was wrestling with a decision, he would verbalize his thought process, taking all of us on a journey through the inner workings of his mind.
Me, I am a fan of the contrarian who in a meeting is quick to voice why something will not work. At that moment, it is not something I typically receive with excitement or even grace. But, I know the process of walking through my logic serves a very important purpose. It either allows me to solidify my confidence in the decision or, it provides me with a means to see my blind spots and unearth the unintended consequences. The hard thing to swallow is that the contrarian is sometimes right. This is not something my ego easily welcomes, but my business always benefits from avoiding a potential mistake.
The hard thing to swallow is that the contrarian is sometimes right.
I also find great value in leveraging the collective intelligence of a group. When I face a really tough challenge or believe that we are standing in front of a big opportunity, I want to assemble my best thinkers. The energy that comes from the friction of rubbing good minds together generates the power to solve those challenges and capitalize on the opportunities.
The energy that comes from the friction of rubbing good minds together generates the power to solve those challenges and capitalize on the opportunities.
I believe that very few of us do our best thinking alone. Sure, we may have the occasional epiphanic thought or a creative idea that comes to us in the middle of the night, causing us to bolt upright and scribble something on the notepad we keep on the nightstand. Yet, those thoughts are typically only conceptual. They usually are not deep, detailed or often, even actionable. However, when we introduce those conceptual thoughts to the minds of others, they become kindling for innovation, change and growth. It is like bacteria placed in the right medium. Given time, it grows into a much more powerful organism.
It is like bacteria placed in the right medium. Given time, it grows into a much more powerful organism.
I feel we all benefit from having thinking partners, be it one person or a group. Working with someone you trust, who has a different set of experiences or just a different outlook can be hugely important. We have all heard the saying “two heads are better than one”. Yet, what I am talking about goes further than just the thinking itself. It is also the benefit of not shouldering it all alone. How many times have you been stuck and you just find yourself ruminating about something, day and night? Wouldn’t having someone to work it through with be helpful? At least you’d get unstuck. Whether you do anything with the thought or not, is irrelevant. Our thoughts should be like a car flying down an open country road, racing in and out of our minds. In the absence of a thinking partner, that open county road that is our mind, often becomes a parking lot. Thoughts just build and stagnate. They wear us down, stress us out. Plus, if they are sitting in our heads, we are missing the chance to use them to help us innovate and grow.
In the absence of a thinking partner, that open county road that is our mind, often becomes a parking lot.
It is time to get back on the open road with the top down and wind in your hair, or in my case, scalp. So find a thinking partner who can help you turn your thoughts into action.
I serve as a thinking partner to many businesses and business leaders. If there is something you want to think through, please click here and we can schedule a time to talk.
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Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and their leaders. He helps organizations tell their stories, enables leaders to better connect and communicate with those whom they lead, and serves as a thinking partner to executives and their teams.
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