In a recent post on his excellent blog Logic+Emotion, David Armano talks about the need to ‘unlearn’ what we take for granted and to look at things through others’ eyes. Although he was taking about B-school students unlearning what they had just been learning in class, the principle has broad general application.
Those others eyes might be a customer when you are thinking about designing the new customer experience (it is their experience after all), suppliers when you are thinking about improving the supply chain (they are doing the supplying) or colleagues when you are thinking about implementing your latest big idea (they are the ones that you are expecting to change).
The idea of taking diverse viewpoints has also been discussed in a couple of other recent postings: First by John Hagel in a blog posting on ‘Difference & Friction’ and then by Legg Mason’s Michael Mauboussin in an article on ‘The Importance of Diverse Thinking’. Hagel points out how diverse groups of intelligent problem solvers can outperform groups of the best individual problem-solvers, particularly when solving new and unusual problems. Mauboussin shows that people who have a little knowledge of a lot of different topics (the ‘foxes’) outperform people with a lot of knowledge about a few topics (the ‘hedgehogs’), particularly when deciding on the direction for a business.
All three postings highlight the importance of looking at things through different viewpoints, whether fomulating strategy, solving business problems or just day-to-day business.
What do you think? Is it best to be a fox or a hedgehog?. What type are you?
Post a comment and get the conversation going.