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Which Way Do You Think?

October 6, 2014 Mike Rose

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“Problem solving or thinking based on the cognitive process of conceptualization; a process of independent analysis in the creative search for new ideas or solutions, which takes as its starting point that none of the constraints of ‘today’s reality’ need necessarily apply to or shape the future. Thus it does not accept received wisdom, the status quo, or inertia as necessary determinants.”

Conceptual thinking can be a valuable analytic or problem solving tool in any field, but most of all in leadership. It is the ability to understand a situation or problem by identifying patterns or connections and addressing key underlying issues. Conceptual thinking includes the integration of issues and factors into a conceptual framework. It involves using past professional or technical training and experience, creativity, inductive reasoning, and intuitive processes that lead to potential solutions or viable alternatives that may not be obviously relatable or easily identified. Enterprise might consider consulting with entrepreneurs for this reason alone.

Way One thinking requires a mind open to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore. But once the work of analysis is completed and a new concept or mind map emerges, the hard work of communicating this new vision begins. Conceptual thinkers, if they are to succeed, must understand that new, and to many people, unfamiliar, ideas need nurturing and support. The Way One has already removed the commonly held constraints, but Way Two and Three thinkers sometimes have problems seeing that the walls of the box have been removed. This is where the Way One is relied upon to provide people development in addition to business results. Part of a Way One’s job is to refine in his Way Twos and Way Threes those skills and characteristics of outside-the-box thinking with something so new and unique that it is driven from within.

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