How to Get That “Ah Ha!” Moment - Broadening Perceptions through Collaboration

Coming out of a meeting with a number of my peers, I was impressed by the various innovative strategies and approaches that many companies are taking. We are all faced with challenges, including new technologies, a changing workforce (especially in engineering and construction), and the agility with which executives are walking the fine line between short term financial goals and long term investing.

The opportunity to collaborate with sister and other companies is critical to assessing your own priorities and perceptions about everyday management issues, especially this time of year, when the focus placed on next year’s business plan is most valuable. I am intrigued by the way we can look at the same strategic objective, but come at it from different angles. Sometimes the variance is due to the inherent difference in a company’s unique business model. Other times it is simply how we describe the objective or problem through our own perceptions.

We tend to focus on the specific events that we need to improve on. Stringing a series of those events together, we arrive at an assumption about the general problem or deficiency. With this approach, we can get caught in the weeds while examining the details and fail to succinctly “brand” the bigger problem or goal. When you can meet and discuss this with peers, someone may give you a new phrase to describe the issue and it becomes an “Ah Ha!” moment.

Often times, those are the most valuable takeaways from a meeting with like-minded peers. By collaborating, you help each other put things in perspective. You wind up complementing each other’s thought processes and may look at things in a new way.

In a more general sense, it is about getting out from behind the computer or desk. Those personal exchanges are not going to happen very readily on the phone, or on a conference call. It’s the face to face interaction and the summation of those experiences that expand your perceptions. It reminds us that many heads are not only better than one, but they are also much better when in the same room at the same time and focusing on the same general theme.

It is an exciting experience, and often humbling.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.


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