I was reading an article recently on advances in Leadership and the article said the latest dimension was ‘thinking’. How can we get our leaders to expand their thinking capabilities?
After all, in this ever-changing world with ever-more information it seems logical that by expanding a leader’s ability to think more then they could handle the extra information and make better decisions. And the recommendation was an expansion of the glass-full metaphor – create bigger glasses! And the result? Over-load, and poorer quality and slower decision-making!
Weirdly, the opposite is true. The leadership gurus have it back to front.
It’s not about expanding the glass to fill it with more stuff, it’s about having an empty glass.
Let me explain.
You know what you know, and if the answer to anything came from that which you know then you’d always have your answer. But that’s never the case. So empty the glass of what you know. Bit scary that isn’t it?
In any situation, whether it’s handling complex information, or making good decisions, or solving problems the answer is always new. It comes from the unknown. And it always comes from a clear and empty mind – literally with nothing on your mind.
Your thinking flows quite naturally – until you get in the way of it. Over-loading it with yet more thinking such as a creative or problem solving technique only serves to create more thinking. And we operate at our best with little or no thinking going on. In sport that’s called the ‘zone’, or a state of ‘flow’.
And a clear mind isn’t something we ‘do’ to achieve. Again, that’s just back to front. It’s actually your natural state. And it’s something we fall back into, as our stale thinking falls away.
So next time you have a difficult decision to make, or stuck with a problem, think less, not more, and that’ll allow some new and fresh thinking or insight to arrive naturally, and probably much more quickly.