I’m not sure the human brain ever stops thinking. It may not always be thinking about important things, but who’s to say that a deep thought about the results of cooking whiskey marinated bacon in a firepit isn’t important?
As I see the popularity of Design Thinking rise and the misplaced counter-arguments of Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking juxtaposed, I can’t help but think that much of what we do in corporate America is really just about being on teams.
- I’m team AGILE!
- I’m Team LEAN
- I’m team Design Thinking!
- I’m team Critical Thinking!
And, if at this point you’re thinking, “those all overlap and have a lot of similarities,” then you’re getting my point. We tend to find books, people, Twitter accounts, and schools of thought that say things we like and understand easily. Then we join that team so that we don’t have to think so hard all the time and we measure everything we come across by that thinking model. Right or wrong – I don’t know, but it sure feels like settling for good enough in the name of being “productive.” Being aware that we’re all vulnerable to joining a team so that we don’t have to champion our own thoughts bothers me and seeing others join a team only to disregard the need for metacognition bothers me even more. Think about how many people root for a college they went to two decades ago and defend that team regardless of what it has become?
If it were martial arts we’d be saying:
- I’m team Karate
- I’m team BJJ
- I’m team Wrestling
- I’m team boxing
- I’m team freestyle
And, then we could just let the styles duke it out to see who wins that tournament, that day. Of course, it would change every day because there’s more to the label than the school it went to or the team associates itself with, but I digress. So, why not take a page out of MMA’s playbook and learn all of the relevant arts, or thinking models, and create a gameplan for the task at hand. We might win or, we could lose. You just never know what’s going to happen. But giving ourselves the best chance to succeed without taking too much damage seems like the smart move.
To take this thinking like a Mixed Martial Artist metaphor one step further, why not take the best of all of the schools of thought and create our very own personal thinking models? Using the best of each team’s playbook, to make our own. Then gameplan for the next challenge with an ever-growing and ever-expanding set of options?
See Tao of Jeet Kune Do – Bruce Lee