How to Thrive with Lateral Thinking

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Andy Sheppard shares an older but always relevant post that asks whether professional insights can lead to spiritual insights.

In my work, I often help leaders to dismantle silos in their organisations. It’s so rewarding to see people thrive and gain new insights as they come together. Somewhat similarly, I have also found that new insights can be unlocked through making connections across different compartments in life. Lateral thinking across parts of life that are typically separate – like our professional life and our spiritual life – can help us to thrive. I believe doing so can help us to lead richer and more integrated lives.

This article shares three connections I have found helpful between my professional life and aspects of my Christian faith. I hope it might offer interesting and fresh insights, whether or not you would consider yourself religious.

Being Hypothesis Driven

I have sympathy for anyone who questions why a search for spiritual meaning should start with Jesus. Thousands of historical and current figures have claimed insight into what gives life meaning and/or how we can live it to the full. Shouldn’t we either listen to them all, or just figure life out for ourselves? And why should we start with anyone who taught a lot about “God” when we’re not even convinced that any deity exists?

When I became a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, I was encouraged to be “hypothesis driven”. This means starting with a hypoth­esis – an educated guess – of where value is and driving towards it. The idea is to benefit from experi­ence and to make rapid progress. It remains rational because the hypothesis should be rejected or modified if disproved by the relevant data, and it is rapid because analysing this data represents only a fraction of the possible analyses. Nevertheless, as an engineer the idea still sat uncomfortably with me: it felt like jumping to a solution too early. My opinion changed when I witnessed what the expert in charge of my first engagement helped us all to accomplish. I would never have believed that so much positive change in processes and culture was possible so quickly – until I saw it happen.

 

Key points include:

  • The waste of sin
  • Keep it simple
  • Seeking understanding

 

Read the full article, Can Professional Insights Lead to Spiritual Insight?, on LinkedIn.