Connecting the dots

Perhaps I am borderline ADD but as soon as I start to answer a question or explore something new my mind starts racing with ideas that connect. Some of the ideas are dead ends but others have proved very productive.

Sometimes this frustrated me especially in school where everything was boxed in and rigid, it did not make for a great academic record until somehow, I got into graduate school at Stanford. All of sudden I found out that connecting the dots was what creative, productive people did. Being on a campus like Stanford with experts in so many disciplines opened a whole new world for me. I would run into people that were so specialized they could not communicate outside their specialty. More often it was the opposite those that were great in one field were polymaths. Their interests were broad and deep.

In the subsequent year’s I have specialized in being a generalist. I have spent countless hours connects dots. Some of which at first seemed unconnected and in fact unconnectable until I dug a bit deeper. I had to get away from conventional wisdom, the textbook if you will and see the world with different eyes.

Here are a few thoughts on connecting the dots that may help you:

  • “ABCD – Always be connecting the dots” Danny Myer, Founder of Shake Shack
  • Look for the spaces between the spaces
  • Fill in the blanks – Exploit space
  • Make no assumptions
  • Much of coaching is managing chaos, making chaos normal so you can do something about it.
  • Connect a known idea in one field with an unknown idea in another field and run with it.
  • Always read the fine print
  • One person’s noise is another person’s music
  • No physical quality exists. In isolation, therefore they cannot be trained in isolation
  • “FIO – Figure it out” Dan Noble
  • Look for structure where there is apparently none
  • GAIN Vision
  • Always look under the hood!
  • It’s there you just have to look for it
  • “Question are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go.” Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School
  • Mix and remix ideas, disconnect and reconnect
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