“I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I’m frightened of old ones.” John Cage

Have you ever found yourself feeling stuck in an old problem? It can be a real zapper of creative energy.  Trying to use the same habits to find new solutions can be very time consuming. Thinking flexibly, or looking at a problem another way, is a brilliant tool to shake us from this stalemate. Being able to change perspectives and consider options and alternatives is one tool great leaders learn to master and put in use every day…and we need to do the same. Two great thinkers put it this way…

“Flexibility and adaptability do not happen just by reacting fast to new information. They arise from mental and emotional balance, the lack of attachment to specific outcomes, and putting care for self and others as a prime operating principle. Flexible attitudes build flexible physiology. Flexible physiology means more resilience in times of challenge or strain. ” Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence

Thinking flexibly means having a growth mindset. This means we should embrace and enjoy challenges, learn from our mistakes and have a party when we succeed after we put in a big effort. Having a growth mindset also means we have to stop and think about our choices and learn from what we did well and not so well.

Thinking flexibly means we need to use our whole brain, the creative side and the logical side. Flexible thinkers use their creative ideas to solve problems and to logically think through issues from new perspectives. Here at Thinkers.inq we use our whole brain whenever we are faced with a problem. First we brainstorm ideas on how to resolve problems then we step it out together so we always achieve our goal.

Thinking flexibly means we have to be actively finding alternatives, that all-important Plan B. To look for really effective alternatives we need to take small steps to understand the whole problem carefully, this in turn helps us to see the situation clearer and clarifies our thinking.

Thinking flexibly requires us to be adaptive to any situation we face. Using deBono’s six thinking hats for example is a great way to build our adaptability. Each hat has a different job, such as the red hat encouraging us to consider our feelings. The green hat has us focusing on creativity and the white hat reminds us that we need to find out all the facts to make good choices. The 6 thinking hats provide us with all sorts of new ideas to solve old problems.

Our challenge to you today is to find ways you are able to change your existing perspectives and generate alternatives and/or consider possible new options. It will do you a world of good. Start slowly and focus on one problem at a time, step it out purposefully and see what innovation comes as a result of your efforts.