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Weekly 3: The value of multiple perspectives

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Summary: Hire quick learners who write well. Who says there’s only one way to lead? Reframe your prob
 

Idea Journal Weekly 3

March 18 · Issue #26 · View online
We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Hire quick learners who write well. Who says there’s only one way to lead? Reframe your problem to find a creative solution. (~6 min read)
One of our core beliefs behind building Idea Journal is that there’s value in looking at past ideas with fresh eyes, whether in a new context or with a different perspective.
Idea #2 below is from an earlier issue, and we’re including it here because we think it’s interesting to review it alongside two new ideas.
Together, the three ideas revolve around this issue’s common theme: the value of viewing things from multiple perspectives.

#1. When recruiting for your small, fast-moving team, look for smart generalists who write well.
Authors and entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, writing in their book Getting Real, recommend the following two tactics when you’re recruiting for your small, early-stage company.
1. Hire well-rounded generalists who learn quickly
As Fried and Heinemeier Hansson point out, small teams need people who can wear different hats – from programmers who understand design, to designers who can write.
For example, they argue that they would never hire for a role as narrow as an Information Architect, because in a fast-moving and dynamic environment you want someone who can learn and adapt and go with the flow, “as opposed to a stick in the mud who can only do one thing.”
Everyone needs to be able to communicate with customers, have an organized mind, and “architect information (whatever that may mean).”
2. Hire good writers
If you’re trying to decide between a few people for a given position, Fried and Heinemeier Hansson suggest that you should always hire the person who’s a better writer.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a programmer, designer, marketer, or salesperson – that’s because clear and structured writing reflects clear and structured thinking.
As they put it, good writers know how to communicate, they can make things easy to understand and, crucially, “They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.”
#2. To be a more effective and versatile leader, use the “Four-Frame Model.”
Academics Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal base their book How Great Leaders Think on a simple premise: good leadership starts with good thinking, and leaders who can look at the same situation from multiple perspectives think better.
The problem is that many leaders – and the academic literature and training programs that support them – are biased towards just one mindset or set of tendencies.
For example, the leader who is very good at handling technical problems, but is “mystified by issues of human emotion and motivation.”
To help leaders, as well as those who work with them, take a more comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities they face, Bolman and Deal have developed the below Four-Frame Model:
Four-Frame Model
The model can serve as a starting point for understanding that a given situation can be viewed through different lenses.
They’ve also developed a brief questionnaire based on the model that you can take to determine what kind of leader you are.
#3. Reframe your thinking to come up with more creative solutions to your problems.
Author and creativity consultant Michael Morgan argues in his book Creating Workforce Innovation that in coming up with creative solutions to a problem, it helps to look at that problem from different viewpoints.
That’s because different viewpoints carry with them different sets of experiences, expectations, and problem-solving approaches.
To help you develop more creative solutions to a given problem, Morgan developed the Reframing Matrix. 
Here’s how to use it in 3 steps:
Step 1: Create a four-square grid with the problem or issue at the center.
Step 2: Decide on the 4 perspectives you’ll use to look at your problem.
One set of perspectives you can use is the 4Ps:
  1. Product
  2. Planning
  3. Potential
  4. People
Another option for choosing the four perspectives is to do so based on functions or roles (e.g., leadership, engineering, sales, and customer support).
Step 3: Brainstorm factors and questions about the problem from each perspective.
If your problem is that a new product isn’t selling well, the below example illustrates what the Reframing Matrix might look like using the 4Ps approach:
Reframing Matrix
Quote of the Week
“The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.”
- Writer Marcel Proust in his book Remembrance of Things Past
Idea Journal
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