“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” This widely known adage is generally attributed to Jessie Potter, Director of the National Institute for Human Relationships, in describing the consequences of thoughtless repetition. We all have routines that guide our activities and that are informed by the knowledge, skills learned, and experiences that support the “tried and true”.

Influential leaders, however, are ever challenged with novel situations and problems that require us to reach beyond the “tried and true”. When this occurs, how do we identify new and effective strategies and solutions to foundational issues in our organizations?

Using traditional problem solving skills initiates a process of discovery towards solutions. A step-by-step, logical approach will uncover many conventional ideas but it has its limitations.

Edward de Bono described a new technique – Lateral Thinking – which is “the process of using information to bring about creativity and insight restructuring. (It’s) a set of processes that provides a deliberate, systematic way of thinking creatively that results in innovative thinking in a repeatable manner.”

Dr. de Bono separates the traditional approaches to problem solving into 2 categories:

1.     Vertical Thinking – a step-by-step, logical approach, this process is most widely known and learned in classical science and math problem solving.

2.     Horizontal Thinking – known as mind wandering or day dreaming, this technique is less about structure and more about allowing a free flow of ideas and thoughts to range through the mind.

Lateral Thinking is a method to link the structure of vertical thinking with the creativity of horizontal thinking.

When would you use Lateral Thinking?

With a broad array of applications, Lateral Thinking can be used anytime; however, its power is most evident when you need to solve a problem without an obvious answer, when you are looking to find new ways to do things more efficiently and effectively, and when you are seeking to innovate and invent new approaches.

Lateral Thinking tools allow you to discover connections between previously unconnected thoughts and ideas, providing novel solutions to traditional challenges. Click here for more information on Lateral Thinking.

At the 3P Exchange Leadership Symposium, we have used our Lateral Thinking skills to identify innovative individuals who are adept at solving problems without obvious answers. Our 15 speakers have successfully found new and effective strategies and solutions that ensure they and their clients don’t just “get what they’ve always gotten” when it comes to foundational organizational issues.

Join a community of influencers and leaders – recognized and emerging – on a journey of personal and professional development. Discover, share, and reaffirm the value that leaders and influencers create in their organizations. Explore new tools and insights you can use to impact outcomes, with or without control of the agenda. Visit www.3pexchange.com to find out more about speakers and events at the 3P Exchange Leadership Symposium including information on registering and booking your accommodations at the Pillar and Post Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. October 17 & 18, 2017. We are looking forward to seeing you there!