Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, has written a superb book called, The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking, from Harvard Business School Press.
What is integrative thinking? Here is a definition from the Rotman website:
Integrative Thinking is the ability to constructively face the tensions of opposing models, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model that contains elements of the individual models, but is superior to each.
Roger and I had a very rich conversation about some of the book’s key ideas, situated in the context of associations. One of the important areas we explored is the issue of leaders “wading” into the complexity of the challenges facing their organizations versus the instinct to simplify those challenges. I invite you pay special attention to Roger’s answer on how CEOs might address this complexity/simplicity issue with their boards. How do you handle it with your board? Please share your comments (on the question or on the podcast) below or send me an e-mail.
As a leader in your association, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Not only is it filled with great stories of how other leaders capitalize on integrative thinking, but it is a powerful examination of the kind of mindset that you and your colleagues will need to develop in order to create a more vibrant future for your organization. (The podcast is about 27 minutes long.)