Why Leadership Coaching For Companies That Think Differently Saves Money

They were a delightful couple. Until then, nothing in the entire world would appear reasonable to break them apart. That evening of Nov 26th, during Thanksgiving, was the tipping point. A big resonant argument about why a father-in-law in law has invited many such people to the house. Suddenly, against the multitude, just one was the “responsible” for setting up the occasion’s bad mood. It’d have been memorable, like many other years before, but not this one.

George was having bad feelings of guilt for not “going with the flow” and enjoy the party. For them, he was the dark sheep, but for him, they were just out of their minds!

Does this clip seem familiar to you? To think different is a matter of attitude, not solitude. So many stories like this one have broken families apart or led to a valuable employee resign. Although I would dare to say society itself handles it pretty well in pushing such people to exile and confinement. Yet, to think and being different seem to be the key to success.

There is a fine line between innovation and thinking differently. If an innovator thinks differently, then he/she will be considered different. It was not long ago when big corporations used to think differently than individual innovators. However, it seems that the thinking process of most corporations has become captive to corporate America. Corporations are now thinking not differently than Big Oil or auto manufacturers. This trend in thinking has led to the slow death of many well-established businesses (and others’ renaissance).

The trap of “well-established” thinking

Consider if you will all the new books that come out each year. Suppose you go to your local bookstore or library and peruse the volume of books on basic sciences, engineering, computer sciences, and mathematics. If you looked at it properly, you would notice a drop off in creativity and inventiveness. These same books now contain entire sections on adapting already known products or services to solve new product needs. This type of thinking produces few new product ideas because it has become a mindset of adaptation.

In contrast, the “thinking different” mindset promotes innovation because it acknowledges that learning is more than just a matter of rote memorization. Instead, it recognizes that knowledge can be developed and used to create solutions. One of my favorite examples of learning organization thinking comes from the Toyota Production System. In planning the Toyota Production System development, the senior management group set out several company goals. Among these goals were specific processes and steps for training the staff to improve their work quality.

Instead of simply hiring more people and training them to do generic job tasks, the managers and senior management set out to develop thinking systems. They defined specific training programs for their team leaders and managers. On top of this, they put into place thinking systems that would help ensure that these leaders understood and directed the production process using a common understanding of the system. At the end of the program, what you had was a whole team of employees who understood how to think differently. This system set the framework for the corporate culture that followed suit.

So what?

In today’s business environment, it’s imperative to think differently. First, however, you must know why you think differently, which is where Steve Jobs came into play. Jobs understood the value of learning organization systems. He set out to develop a group of people who understood how to think differently. He then taught them specific methods on how to create innovative thinking.

Our whole organization is much more successful when all of us are thinking differently. Some of us are better at convergent thinking, and some of us at divergent thinking. The most successful companies I have had the pleasure to work with all have people who are very good at both. If you want a thriving company in today’s highly competitive landscape, you need people who can think differently and successful management that encourages it.

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