Thinking on your feet is a critical skill for any business leader when it comes to solving unexpected issues that arise on the job. This is the number one reason my clients state for hiring me. No matter what obstacles come my way, I always find a way to work things out.
Do you remember the television program MacGyver, from the mid-80s, starring Richard Dean Anderson? Jog your memory by clicking here: http://rdanderson.com/macgyver/macgyver.htm
MacGyver was notorious for solving problems by using science and his wits with very minimal resources. And, he came through every time. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone like him on your team? Or, even better, wouldn’t it be great if you had even just a few of the skills that MacGyver exhibited?
Follow these simple steps to learn how to think to think on your feet and solve problems while doing more with less.
SIX TIPS FOR THINKING ON YOUR FEET
1. Trust yourself and others. Learn to go with your gut and trust your ideas. Take this advice from Improvisational Comedians, “If you feel your feet moving – follow them!” Do the same for your work colleagues.
2. Develop a “yes, and…” mentality. Don’t negate or deny ideas. Get rid of “yes, but …” Accept the information that comes to you and work with it.
3. Be in the moment. Remember to listen, watch and concentrate. You have to pay attention! Don’t worry about past failures or attempts at thinking on your feet – think in present-tense only.
4. Accept new ideas without judgement. See where the new idea takes you.
5. Make actional choices. In Improv, you would go somewhere or do something. By taking action, you increase your focus. Do the same in business!
6. Work to the top of your intelligence. Challenge yourself to see what you can discover. Try not to create a box that isn’t there.
Thinking on your feet is child’s play. Literally. Next time you are around children watch how they take in new information and move quickly to make changes to what they are doing. They are all mini-experts at thinking on their feet.
If you want to be the MacGyer of your workplace, try these tips and remember, be flexible, be open to the possibilities, and be ready to have fun. The next time the universe (or your boss!) drops a challenge in your lap, smile and say, “Bring it on!”