Yesterday I got one of those standard emails from 23 and me telling me I had new DNA relatives. Usually I ignore them, having tired of learning of new third and fourth cousins a while ago. But this time, I opened it and clicked on the link, to discover, I have a new first cousin once removed connection—a person I don’t know.
Seeing as I’m pretty close with my cousins, it’s not like one of them would have had a child I did not know about. My curiosity was piqued—who was this person? Which cousin’s child was it? While we did connect and I welcomed him to the family, neither of us know, yet, which cousin is his parent.
This got me thinking, how we have all adapted to our new circumstances in life through the power of divergent thinking. It’s not like there is an owner’s manual on how to navigate this new terrain opened up by innovations in technology. We are all making it up as we go.
That is exactly what divergent thinking does—opens you up to how to approach new situations and opportunities. Whereas convergent thinking hones you in on the one “right” solution, how can there be one “right” solution to circumstances you’ve never faced before?
For the past several decades, I’ve facilitated this activity we call Brain on the Wall to stimulate divergent thinking with groups. But mostly we do it to try to establish our path (converging on the “one” solution) for moving forward with projects.
In the Air Force, we had a saying that “it’s time to shoot the engineer and get on with the project”—meaning there is a time and place for divergent thinking, but at some point in time, you have to pick one approach and follow it through to completion.
As a Cheetah Project Manager, I’ve reconciled the merger between divergent and convergent thinking with two simple core values: do the most good and bring out the best of all.
Once sufficient divergent approaches are on the table—which one is going to do the most good, and be the approach that can bring out the best of all? Yes, these are very subjective measures, but generally I find there is tight consensus on which approaches will best meet those two values.
It’s how I approached getting to know my new family member—what was there for me to do the most good—and bring out the best of all?
About the Author: Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management (PM) to the masses. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become "Cheetahs" using Cheetah Learning’s innovative PM and accelerated learning techniques. Michelle also developed the Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) program based on Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality profiling to help students master how to use their unique strengths for learning, doing projects, and negotiating. Michelle is recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.
For more information, visit www.cheetahlearning.com. To read my business-oriented blogs, please visit Cheetah Learning Blog at http://www.michellelabrosseblogs.com/, https://www.facebook.com/MichelleChiefCheetah/posts/956956998493883, and read my columns here in ISE magazine at https://isemag.com/author/michellelabrosse/.