Clients often ask, “I have these strengths but how can I best use them in my career?” This is a good question. Managing a career in our turbulent times can be challenging as many of you may know. These turbulent times with increased complexity, uncertainty and rapid change demand a different kind of mind. Fortunately, nonlinear thinkers (NLs) are uniquely equipped to thrive in these conditions.
We live in a complex world swimming in data. Organizations know how to create data. Now they are more focused on how to manage the data. This takes a strategic mind that can step back and look at the big picture. Someone who can see the whole, detect key patterns and synthesize the data rapidly into what’s important. Then organize disparate elements, often using diagrams and visual models to translate the complex into clear understanding that can be communicated for action. At CereCore® Institute, we know that NLs are naturally strong in these areas. As visual thinkers, they are valuable strategists, program managers and project managers and key people wherever an organization needs to translate their vision into action and solve big problems.
We can’t always depend on things happening the way we would like. Life doesn’t unfold in a straight line. Companies have to adjust to many things out of their control like economic shifts, world crises, climate change and sudden market shifts. Uncertainty can bring about confusion and fear for some. Others see it as a chance to change things. NLs see opportunity, using their ability to connect seemingly unrelated entities and detect trends through a sense of evolving patterns. Instead of the rigidity of fear they respond with flexible thinking and creative solutions. Such people do well in entrepreneurial companies, research and growth companies that need to grow and adapt to market changes. More established organizations need visionary thinking to redefine themselves. NLs thrive on uncertainty to drive opportunity.
We may wish for a slower pace of life at times, but the reality is that rapid change is with us. Linear thinking that works well with established procedures and for accuracy is now sharing increasing space with nonlinear thinking. Why? Because flexible thinking is necessary to keep up with the speed of change. NLs naturally see many perspectives, have innovative ideas and solutions that would take too long step-by-step. Flexibility of thought is important wherever changes need to be made rapidly. NLs do well in fast paced organizations, emergency services and where there is a mix of variety of projects, people and tasks.
Complexity, uncertainty and speed of change are today’s reality. Organizations big and small need people who can function well in this environment. Today’s jobs require more than skills, training and education. Being aware of your thinking capabilities and being able to articulate them, in addition to your expertise and experience, enables you to better position yourself when seeking a job or promotion.