How to improve your business thinking skills

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Written by Andrew Jenkins on 12 June 2014 in Features

With a business problem or challenge in mind, start with environment at the bottom and move up through each level of thinking, Andrew Jenkins says 

As a business owner or entrepreneur it’s important to have strong thinking skills. You need to be able to think quickly, creatively and strategically.

So how do you develop and strengthen your thinking skills?

Here’s how:

With a business problem or challenge in mind, start with environment at the bottom and move up through each level of thinking in turn answering the questions posed to you at each level until you get to purpose / vision / connection at the top. 

Purpose / vision / connection: What is my purpose?  Close your eyes and imagine connecting with the best and highest thing about you – then ask yourself; how does the area in question connect with your purpose and the big picture of your life, your dreams, desires and what you want to achieve?

Identity: Who am I in this area?  Who am I when I do the things I do in this area?  Who am I when I am at my very best?

Values and beliefs: What motivates me in this area?  What do I believe about myself / others? What rules do I / others operate by?  What is true or not true to me?  What’s important about me to tell other people so they understand me?  What do I stand for?

Skills and capabilities: What capabilities, skills, expert knowledge, strategies and resources can I draw on?  What is missing or needs bettering?

Behaviours: What specific behaviours do I do when I engage in this area of my life?  What behaviours and actions support me, or get in my way? 

Environment: Where am I when I think about this?  What do my senses tell me?  What do I see, hear and feel?  What happens to me here?  Where are the external constraints, concerns and boundaries of influence?

Once you’ve got to ‘purpose etc.’, progressively work back down each level in turn to environment.  And ask yourself: having got to this level (together with any levels above this) how does it influence and impact my thinking at the next thinking level below?

As you do this second step notice; what changes? What is different? Which has the most effect or impact?  Does each level align to the other and if not where is there a disconnect?

This is a very powerful and profound way for you, as a business leader, to successfully think about any new idea, complex problem and challenge etc.  Wisdom comes from multiple perspectives.

What happens when you raise the bar of your thinking to use top down approaches is that your arguments become more engaging and persuading and you gain significantly more influence and impact at the lower levels. 

So, to think at your very best, you need to open your mind and get to know who you are and what you stand for. Then you can raise the bar of your thinking, by using top down strategies. This, in turn, will enable you to make better decisions, faster, develop more creative ways to solve problems, and ultimately grow your business. 


About the author

Andrew Jenkins is a management consultant and facilitator 


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