In my business as a management consultant, thinking deeply about challenges and opportunities is the main game and I need to be at the top of my game to offer my very talented and intelligent clients the insights they need to improve their business performance.
If you reflect about the day or week you just had, did you get time to think and if you did, did you produce the ‘goods’?
If I have 10 focused minutes this is how I spend them:
The White Board
I spend time drawing up the key aspects of what I am thinking about ‘feeling out a concept for how the pieces come together’. Words, pictures, diagrams or any combination of these to help me communicate my thinking.
Choose some ‘sounding boards’ to test your ideas on. People not like you; with different working preferences. Work with them so they understand it’s safe to offer their thoughts, and really think about what they offer you, because in some small way you will need to consider how you are addressing their observations.
Commit your white board ideas to memory and start testing your hypothesis with people either in a roundtable environment or individually or pairs over coffee.
Whatever your idea, it’s only an idea until you implement it. The process of implementation fundamentally impacts on your ideas as other forces affect it and shape it during the process. To get a sense of this you need to visualize its implementation and try to identify the big impacts (at least) and create stabilizing forces to protect the intent you started with. Role play it. White board it. Talk it through. Test it with customers. Story board it. These are all effective tools to help your thinking
Back to the whiteboard, PowerPoint or iPad to work up a polished version of the concept. The process of simplification and design helps streamline your concept. Keep the detail out of it. Why? Why now? Why this way? … could be your three questions to answer.
Validate your ideas with those you have spoken with.
I believe in a 5d process; Dialogue, Discovery, Decipher, Design and Deploy. I named my company after this process. It produces solid thinking, solid ownership and focused and sustainable results.