Picture1I had a wonderful discussion today with a friend who has been struggling to integrate three radically different ways of thinking:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Church music

We discovered that each of these lenses brings a valuable, and fascinating, set of viewpoints.  The solution lies not with any single one of these, but with the ability to play between all three.

Picture2It’s not just about doing three kinds of analyses; innovation and learning comes from letting each viewpoint affect the others.

When you’re looking at difficult issues, are you bringing in something that will challenge you and expand your thinking?

I’m not talking about getting all the departments together to make sure that everybody’s concerns are addressed.  That’s an important part of implementing solutions to complex problems.

But what if you’re stuck on getting creative solutions in the first place?  That’s harder.

You can do some of this as a mental exercise by trying to change your perspective.  Coaches do this sometimes with “crazy” questions like:

  • If you were on a South Pole Expedition, what would look different to you?
  • What would change if money and time were absolutely no issue?
  • If you switched employees with your competitor down the street, how would your perspective change?

Each of these, on the face of it, is a totally impractical question and perhaps a waste of time.  But at the right opportunity, it might break you out of a bind and create some fresh thinking.

Even better, though, is to talk with someone who actually holds a different point of view.  Ask your friend how her perspective changed when she was on Mount Everest.  Talk out an issue with someone with a totally different perspective on time.  Bring in a crazy artist who doesn’t worry about business processes.

It’ll make the discussion much more creative, spark information, and maybe be fun!