To See What You're Missing

card2207 A recent Jessica Hagy Diagram caught my interest (do the ol’ click-to-enlarge thing), reminding me of things I’ve said before about thinking differently and challenging assumptions. It’s an important process and one I fancy as a kind of specialty of mine. In approaching any challenge, I’m continually trying to see it from a different angle in order to get the necessary perspective to see the solution, whether it’s conventional or not. Along these lines, the other day Seth Godin wrote about the scientific method,

If you enter a conversation looking for something to test, measure and ultimately change, it's likely you'll find it. That change makes you more competitive, and you continue to cycle past your competitors. On the other hand, if you enter a conversation concerned about maintaining the status quo, it's likely that this is exactly what you're going to do.

He suggests that while a natural impulse might be a defensive posture toward challenges, it is better to “Ask yourself, ‘what do I believe that’s wrong? How can I change the way I do things? What works? What doesn’t?'”

This is the kind of thinking that helps hone every facet of your business… not a knee-jerk defense of everything you’ve done, but continuing to challenge it to be sure you have done it the best way that you can. And, of course, changing whatever needs changing. Don’t imagine that all your assumptions are correct, even the ones you’ve already acted upon. Be prepared to change a wrong decision even after it’s made. Being willing to admit mistakes and even cut your losses when necessary helps keep your mind open enough to see what you’ve been missing.