Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thin slicing, leverage points, and elegant solutions to everything

In some ways, I have a mathematical mind. I love the idea of elegance, of solving a problem in the fewest steps.  This idea also appears in my work as leverage points, the point where the smallest effort results in the largest effect.  In Malcolm Gladwell's work, blink, he called it 'thin slicing,' the ability to make more accurate judgments from a select set of information than from more complete information.

I have always loved the moment when a slight pull unravels the whole of the knot.

My own work is about helping people connect the way they think with the results they get. I am always looking for the key criteria that I am actually using in training and coaching to allow clients to make the connections that allow them to solve their problems. Because I respect the research on how people think, I know that I need to discover my own process because it inevitably contains elements just outside of my awareness.

Today, I was reading a new book from my friend and mentor, Roz Usheroff, The Future of You: Creating an Enduring Brand (yes! you should buy it and read it and think about it).  As I read, I was picking at the knot that is my explanation of what I do and how I do it.  I knew that the best answer would not be technical and it would not be complicated.

The best answer is this: I uncover the enthusiasm and curiosity that drive my clients to change the world.

This is my ultimate thin slice of what makes people both satisfied and successful: enthusiasm and curiosity.  With them come purpose and resilience and relationships. With them come a focus on the connections between thought and action and what is real and present. With enthusiasm and curiosity come energy and acuity and meaning.

Maybe in a theoretical world, you could have all those benefits without having enthusiasm and curiosity. But why would you want to?

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