Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Brainstorm Leadership Maturity: How to Shape a Bigger, Wider, and Deeper Thinking Box

Leadership is ripened when the power of leadership is based on acute observation, insightful understanding, sound judgment, courageous questioning, creative communication, and effective strategic management.

People lead in the different levels. The key differentiator between senior leaders and others is neither about the big title nor the age. To dig into the mindset level, it’s about the size and shape of their “thinking box.” The senior leadership of the organization or the society are like the steering wheel to ensure their ships are moving in the right direction towards the uncharted water and blurred territories. Senior leadership makes influence from mindset to behavior, and evolving to what is needed next for radical changes and societal advancements. Therefore, they must shape the bigger, wider, and deeper thinking box in order to see further, view broader, and perceive deeper, for accelerating leadership maturity.

The bigger thinking box: The individual’s “thinking box" is a mental construct made up of personal and environmental components that one operates within. Due to the scarcity of information and static setting in the industrial age, many people are used to living in the familiar territory, operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world, and apply conventional wisdom based on a very limited thinking box they shape quite a long time ago. Thus, there’s no surprise that every person has some blind spots. Too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusions. To close blindspots, you have to be humble to realize there are many things you know you don’t know and perhaps even more which you don't know what you don't know. If we all stayed in a box and didn't believe things exist outside of our box, there's no room to broaden our thoughts, expand knowledge, and no progress can be made. Expanding to the bigger thinking box is particularly critical to improve leadership effectiveness. The senior leader should have the ability to see the big picture and to complement the team’s viewpoint, for avoiding groupthink and improving decision effectiveness. When people, especially those in leadership position leave outdated thoughts and standards to seek additional knowledge and experience, they are stepping outside that box into unfamiliar territory, they are expanded into a much bigger box. A leader needs to have the passion for keeping learning and, for what he/she is doing, shaping the bigger, much bigger box of thinking is evolutionary at the cognitive level.

The wider thinking box: The digital organization is hyperconnected and interdependent. The digital enterprise consists of an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and econosystems. Thus, the leader’s thinking box not only needs to be bigger but also be wider, to connect the interdisciplinary dots and leverage multidimensional thinking for solving complex business problems. Besides critical thinking, digital leaders need to apply Systems Thinking to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole; leverage the integral thinking of analytics and synthesis for bringing an awareness of an entire digital ecosystem, and understand how the change to any part of that system impacts the other parts of the system and the whole. Leveraging a wider thinking box enables digital leaders today to look at the wider aspects around problem space and then, understands the effect of imposing boundaries within that space, in order to frame the right problem and solve it in a structural way.

The deeper thinking box: Organizations large or small are stepping into the deep, deep digital new normal. Accordingly, digital leaders or professionals must be able to shape a deeper thinking box as well. The deep thinking occurs when you look for internal understanding in order to discover a way to contribute something of unique value. That could be an expression of your understanding based on your internal review of understanding and experience; it could come through deep observation via seeing beyond obvious or looking around the corner, in order to dig into the root cause of the problems or set good policies to encourage progressive changes. To put briefly, the key differentiation between senior leaders and others is based on their leadership profundity which means insightful understanding. Assumptions and prejudices are due to lack of deep understanding; fixing the symptom, not the real issue, is caused by lack of in-depth understanding as well. The deep problem that reveals is to understand what are the evolutionary pathways implied by the mind switches and how we can leverage different thought processes to solve complex problems facing businesses today effectively. The profound leaders with deeper thinking box have high influence competence and high-level problem-solving capability.

Top leaders go beyond a senior title, their leadership competency is based on their bigger, wider, and deeper thinking box, to enable them developing a far-sighted vision, set the digital tone for change & innovation, and represent the overall quality and maturity of leadership. Leadership is ripened when the power of leadership is based on acute observation, insightful understanding, sound judgment, courageous questioning, creative communication, and effective strategic management.


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