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How to think on your feet

Leadership + Management |

Picture: Delphotostock / fotolia

In PwC's latest CEO survey 77 per cent said that they were either somewhat concerned or extremely concerned about a lack of key skills. When asked to assess the most elusive talents, CEOs identified a list of thinking skills: the ability to adapt, problem-solve, be creative, and innovative. In Strategy & Business Jesse Sostrin, a director at PwC’s U.S. Leadership Coaching Center of Excellence, writes “the capacity to reflect dynamically amid the constantly shifting work landscape is what counts most. The strongest lever you, as a leader, have over how you manage your people, projects and priorities is your own thinking.” The impact of a leader's thoughts are not simply a measure of minutes, but rather of the thinking agility they apply to changing circumstances. 

The first step Sostrin advises is to develop greater awareness of your thinking tendencies. He uses the Herrmann International’s Whole Brain Model. The framework includes four distinct thinking domains: analytical, practical, relational, and experimental.

Every individual displays a unique mix of these, expressing some more dominantly than others. And the way any person deals with communicating, building relationships, solving problems, and making decisions reflects the strengths or limitations of his or her thinking in the four dimensions.

“Knowing your thinking sweet spot is crucial because we instinctively develop habits and patterns of behaviour around them”, writes Sostrin. These patterns may be the cause of success, but as the challenges for leaders shift, they need to branch out beyond the sweet spot and develop broader thinking skills. “Filling in these thinking gaps by exploring the domains you tend to avoid will allow you to more easily collaborate with and influence people.”

Read more on Strategy Business, PWC and Herrmann Solutions

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