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Successfully Thinking Through Tomorrow

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” 
– Albert Einstein

The most significant challenges we as leaders face moving forward Post-COVID-19 are not the issues requiring solutions but our mindset when addressing those issues. We must do all we can to ensure we understand the problems before us without complicating them with our presuppositions.

Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani is quoted as saying, “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”Stephen R. Covey echo’s, “Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we, in effect, describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.” (1)

Our presuppositions, in many instances, complicates the problem before us; if we assume a right/wrong approach, we run the risk of dismissing a possible solution, thus limiting our options. Tackling problems with a group accustom to effectively thinking through the issues saves time and money.

Kendra Cherry observes, “In cognitive psychology, the term problem-solving refers to the mental process that people go through to discover, analyze, and solve problems… Before problem-solving can occur, it is important to first understand the exact nature of the problem itself.”(2)G.K Chesterton says, “It isn’t that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.”

Assemble Your Team and Successfully Think Through the Issues

“The responsibility of leadership is not to come up with all the great ideas, but to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.” – Simon Sinek

When assembling your team, don’t give them a problem to work on, give them a vision and a solution to work toward. The possibilities are endless when we shift from problem to solution-oriented thinking.

1) Collect Your Thoughts Before and After Discussions

Addressing issues following a distressing few months will require getting your thoughts together to be mentally prepared for some problem-solving. Collecting your thoughts is an exercise in focused thinking. Fixing your thoughts on a specific issue, turning it over in your mind until you see it in a different light, and doing the same with views shared by others. This exercise is done by neither accepting nor rejecting an idea; it is about learning to see an issue through someone else’s perspective.

2) Practice Realistic Thinking

Realistic thinking is deep thinking rooted in fact. You can only solve problems with facts; you may have many ideas, breaking them down to their core components enables you to sort them out. The best ideas contain solutions that best address your problems. Realistic thinking often leads to strategic thinking, which leads to successful strategies, this is why we’re told to “Look before we leap.”

Good thinkers tend to be realistic, having a better understanding of an issue they usually solve more problems and are often more creative than those who don’t practice sustained focused thinking.

3) Manage Your Emotions

As a leader, you’re more invested in your people and your business than others in your organization, and you’ll tend to experience emotional highs and lows more strongly than others. How you manage your emotions directly influences your environment. You cannot switch your emotions on and off at will, but you can learn to manage them. Having a disciplined thought life enables you to process them correctly.

Your emotions in and of themselves are neither positive nor negative. Your brain categorizes thoughts and events as positive or negative. The subconscious mind, always monitoring for normalcy, also categorizes good, bad, positive, negative, and so on. Learning to face and address your emotions is aided by realistic thinking.

4) Be Open-Minded

Connecting with people to understand their perspectives helps to avoid forcing our presuppositions into the problem-solving sessions. Learning to listen intently opens our minds to other ideas, which is more productive than always speaking to influence opinions. Thinking through solutions together is always more rewarding.

“Take every problem as a task where you will be rewarded after completing the task.”
– Narendra Singh Dhami

(1)“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey (2)”Problem-Solving Strategies and Obstacles” by Kendra Cherry

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