Reflection on Different Thinking Styles

|Portfolio 3 | | | |Reflection on Different Thinking Styles | | | |1/24/2010 | | | |Ashish R Mehta |

Reflections on Different Thinking Styles T. H Huxley, an English biologist says very well that “While the need for both logical and creative thinking is clear, this does place strategists in a rather awkward position of needing to bring two partially contradicting forms of thinking together in one strategic reasoning process”1. Creating a common conducive environment for both kind of thinking is difficult. However awkward it may be to find a right balance between logical and creative thinking, the fact is that the strategic thinking is the combination of analytical and critical thinking.

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Depending on the nature of business environment, the strategic decision making involves a right balance between the critical thinking and analytical thinking. Strategic problems are the real time problems, which are more relative and volatile to external trends of triple bottom line; Economy, Social and Environment. Finding the solutions to these problems needs creativity and the critical thinking provides this aspect. However as Mr Kenichi Ohmai says”Strategists do not reject analysis, Indeed they can hardly do without it”2, the strategic thinking needs analytical thinking as its part.

The Analytical thinking known for its decisiveness and clarity is best suited to test or validate the emerging ideas. For Strategic thinking, I would prefer using the model presented by Henry Mintzberg and Frances Westley in their article “Decision-making: It’s not what you think”3, who argue that analytical way of thinking helps only for certain kind of problems, which has some level of certainty associated with them. As per their model, mangers take strategic decisions using three models of reasoning; Thinking First, Seeing First and Doing first.

The Thinking First model starts with the problem definition, followed by diagnosis of the causes, design of various possible solutions and finally the selection of best solution. The Seeing First model recommends visualising the solutions first and then working towards its achievement. The “Doing First” model suggests to experiment, i. e. to implement the solutions first and then learning from those implementation. Here, the Thinking First model is based on analytical model, while Seeing First and Doing First are based on critical thinking, which uses creativity to visualize the problem and realize the solution.

Combination of all the 3 models gives a powerful approach for strategic thinking. The resultant approach uses the strength of both critical and analytical thinking. The Seeing First model can be useful in providing the vision for strategic thinking, Thinking First can be useful in creating the plans for the solutions and Doing First helps in implementing the plan. To summarize, all the three types of thinking, i. e. the analytical, the critical and the strategically thinking can be used effectively based on the size and the context of problem.

The Analytical thinking is best suited for the problems, where the real cause can be found by following certain steps. It is suited for problems of smaller magnitude. For example, finding a solution to, why a manufacturing company is losing its profits? The critical thinking is best suited for the problem which are large in nature, where the problem occurs in a business environment, which is greatly affected by the external trends defined by triple bottom line ; Economy, Social and Environment. For example, How to solve traffic congestion problem in Mumbai.

There can many reasons for the congestion, such as bad infrastructure, traffic rules violation, or completely different like lack of political will to decongest the traffic. There is no guaranteed solution to this problem, however one may suggest simple solutions such as traffic education, hoping it may have a greater impact on decongesting the traffic. Both analytical and critical thinking may lead to the solutions which sometimes may not be favourable to the company’s quest towards its future goal. The strategic thinking makes sure that the solutions to problems are solved without affecting its future goal.

For example to solve the HIV/AIDS problem in South Africa, De Beers has to take steps such that it does not hurt the expectations of shareholders. De Beers has to make sure that the decision it takes will benefit shareholders, if not in short term gains, then in long term gains. The course has taught a plethora of things about the leadership. One of the interesting phenomenon of leadership is the one suggested by Robert E. Quinn, “ The fundamental state of leadership”4, where a leader ready to make his first mark, has to trust his choices and vision with a great determination.

The leader must be ready to accept the results through others works, where the others embrace the leader’s vision and moves the vision forward. The leadership involves working through others, letting the others to navigate while he sets the directions for them. Like Kevin in the article “A New View of Leadership”4 , by Robert E. Quinn, irrespective of getting fired, continued to believe his vision. In fundamental state of leadership one may face resistance at every stage. It is an essential to have patience with adversity and resistance in such scenario. A leader has to believe in their vision.

I have also discovered that the leadership is a complex, dynamic process rather than a simple and static entity. The leadership is developed and improved upon experiences. The leader learns with every decision. A leader with a powerful leadership can transform both oneself and the organisation. In my model, a leader has a compelling leadership, if he can exhibit qualities such as creating a realistic vision, gaining an impressive credibility, listening emphatically, learning from own experiences and the most important has followers who realize his vision. The leader must convince his followers with his thoughts.

Following ethic and Being ethical is expected from every leader. To be compelling, the leader should know that just being legal doesn’t means he may be ethical. He should have a proper idea of the context or the environment of his decision. For example killing a cow is unethical in Indi, which may not be the case in other countries in west. Many political careers have been doomed because of non conformance to ethics. For example,The former president of United Stated of America, Mr Bill Clinton lost his post of president for his alleged illicit relationship with Miss Monica Lewinsky.

Even though his job and responsibilities had no connection with his private life, still for being unethical his leadership image got tarnished. Ethics plays the part of increasing credibility for a compelling leadership and if not handled properly it may be fatal to credibility. Emerging challenges such as global warming, AIDS/HIV, Swine Flu are effecting the businesses significantly. To survive, it is necessary to take care of these challenges along with profits. In other words to survive the businesses should be sustainable.

The leadership should be prepared to accept these challenges and act proactively. In fact a compelling leader may see the sustainability as an opportunity to build his/her brand. For example, De Beers saw the AIDS program as opportunity and started AIDS/HIV treatment programmes for HIV infected employees. The program received laurels and awards in Corporate Social Responsibility sector. These achievements increased the brand name of DeBeers as a socially responsible company and hence it is still able to stay ahead in cut throat competition of diamond industry.

Failing to incorporate sustainability may cause the leadership the failure of reaching his vision and trust of his followers. Power comes implicitly to a compelling leadership. It is important to make sure that everything is going right in the direction of leader’s vision. More importantly it plays a significant role in holding the tensions which could be detrimental to the leader’s vision. The power fits as a controlling mechanism in a compelling leadership. If the power is not used judiciously it may hit back to the leadership as it did to former president of United States of America, Mr George Bush for attacking iraq.

This course has given me a new insight to my personal skills and imparted me few valuable leanings. Before the course I thought the analytical thinking as my major strength. However after the course i realised that I am more of intuitive person than Analytical. I belong to the category of visualisers where i imagine the solution in the form of mental pictures. My strength is in presenting skill where it has been easy for me to get the audience to hear me. I learned that i am an extrovert and sometimes this style may not suit the class.

As of my style of leadership, I found myself as more of a kind of facilitator , I helped my team by giving them the broader picture of the team activity. Even though i had few storms in the initial phase, by the end the team was unified towards the goal in all respects. I have learnt that i have got few basic qualities in me which a compelling leader needs. References 1. T. H. Huxely(1825-1895) “Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned erros”. 2. Kenichi Ohmae, “The Mind of the Strategist : The Art of Japanese Business”, McGraw-Hill,New York, ©1982, ch 1&7.

Reproduced with the permission from press McGraw-Hill. 3. Henry Mintzberg and Frances Westley, “MIT Sloan Management Review”, Vol. 42, No. 3, Spring 2001, pp. 89-93. Adapted with the permission of MIT Sloan Management Review. 4. Robert E. Quinn. “A New View of Leadership” from Building the Bridge As You Walk On It : A Guide for Leading Change, Jossey-Bass, ©2004, pp. 79 Reproduced with the permission from Jossey-Bass. ———————– qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvb nmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer tyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfg hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcv bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwert yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe rtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer tyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklz xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrt yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe rtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopa sdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer tyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklz xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjk zxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwe rtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopa sdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklz xcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjk zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui opasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuio pasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghj klzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbn mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwwerty uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

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