The smart thinking book is a gem. This book fits perfectly with my personality. I like the way it provides concise, clutter free points. The smart thinking book contains 60 points of general business wisdom, where each point takes about two minutes to read.
The Smart Thinking Book: 6 Main Sections
The smart thinking book splits into 6 chapters: growth, communication, innovation, creativity, relationships, thinking. I will begin this introduction to a series of 8 articles reviewing the book.
Business is all about strategy, planning, and execution. My key learning on this chapter is that we should not take each component in isolation. In fact, there needs to be a good link between the three where the balance between them is critical. Having an excellent strategy, perfect plan, but poor execution is undesirable. This is often the pitfall of business. Often, we zoom in on one area and try to make it perfect. On the contrary, having an ok strategy, ok plan, ok execution is better.
Finding the right balance between the three is important due to time constraint. You can have the perfect strategy and plan that takes a full year to execute. On the other hand, you can have an adequate strategy and plan that takes 3 months execute. Which means that you can work on 4 ok projects instead of a single excellent project. In essence, speed and direction determine the rate of growth.
I recall a saying in my younger days that goes: “A small achievement is dependent on yourself, A big achievement is dependent on an organization”. A brain and a single pair of hands can only get you so far. On the other hand, a group of people working towards a common goal can achieve so much more.
The lessons in this section are about communication between colleagues. No doubt that there is more coordination required when working with people. Hence, listening and broadcasting clear messages is crucial. The key takeaway here is to guide people with different perspectives to work together.
An existing product with small changes can bring out a compelling business opportunity. There is always an improvement opportunity for an existing product. Finding small tweaks can lead to a major breakthrough, or eases the usage of a product. First, experiment with new theories to validate the ideas. Then prototype to bring ideas into practical forms.
Creativity differs from innovation where a product is generated by an entirely new idea. Where innovation is about small changes to an existing idea, creativity is about thinking out of the box. Providing a suitable environment makes a huge difference to stimulate creativity.
Apart from that, we can split the creative process into 2 stages. First, we branch out to explore different possibilities, then, we consolidate a few ideas into a few major ones. Often, we missed the second step. But that second step is much more important as it can combine 2 good ideas into an excellent one.
This chapter is closely linked with communications. This is because relationships require communications. I notice that this chapter focuses more on the character of individual. Whereas the communication chapter is more on techniques. It is also important to harness the relationship between colleagues for higher work rate.
Thinking is important. We spend 80% of the time doing, and 20% of the time thinking. However, it’s the thinking time that determines the work effectiveness. Consequently, it is important to define the correct things to pursue. After getting the direction right, organize the type of work. Then, leverage technology as an aid for thinking. On the other hand, be mindful of the distraction that technology potentially brings. Accelerate thinking, avoid distractions!
In the following series of article, I will extract about 5-7 main points of each section for discussion. At the end of the series, I will link the sections together. By combining the pieces, we can form practical strategies for workplaces. With that, I hope that we will increase the number of smart people in this world. Let’s start by looking at Smart Thinking Book: Growth!