Leaders of successful businesses foster innovative work environments where their employees are able to creatively apply their knowledge and strengths to solve their customers’ problems. This sort of work environment is motivating for employees, results in happy, repeat customers that are happy to pay for your services and products. It is a win-win-win for everyone.
Back in the early 90’s I worked for a consulting company that had this mindset. Employees were encouraged to work with customers to identify areas in their businesses that could be improved. We then proposed a number of solutions to deal with these improvement opportunities and the customers would hire us to implement them.
It was a win-win-win. We were paid for our expertise, the employees loved applying their knowledge and solving problems and the customers received process improvements in their businesses or facilities that resulted in more operating profit.
We were able to do this successfully because of the business culture that we had. We were encouraged to look for problems and then to use our knowledge to innovatively solve these problems.
Dr. Art Markman calls this Smart Thinking. Smart Thinking is the ability to solve new problems using your current knowledge.
In his book Smart Thinking, Markman states that “Smart Thinking requires developing Smart Habits to acquire High-Quality Knowledge and to apply your knowledge to achieve your goals.”
Lets break this statement down into its three components. According to Markman:
- Smart Habits – are habits that enable you to perform desirable behaviors without the effort of conscious thought
- High Quality Knowledge – is created when you relate new information to important knowledge you already have
- The innovative application of Smart Habits and High Quality Knowledge to achieve a desired outcome is the final and most important part of Smart Thinking.
The last step is crucial in this process. Not only do we need to develop Smart Habits and acquire High Quality Knowledge but we must apply them to achieve a goal or a desired outcome. This application step helps to cement the new habit and the new knowledge and to integrate it permanently into our brain with our existing knowledge.
Imagine what you, your staff and your business could look like if you were to buy into this process! You can improve your business, engage your employees and provide real value to your customers . . . All by fostering a culture of Smart Thinking!
What Smart Thinking have you done this week? What was the result for you and your business?
“New knowledge is of little value if it doesn’t change us, make us better individuals, and help us to be more productive, happy, and useful.” Hyrum W. Smith
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Watch for the upcoming release of my two new books: 12 Steps to Business Transformation and The Thinking Business System