Refined and Fly

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Peace! Today's mathematics is knowledge knowledge abbt wisdom.When you assess your foundation, the information you have at your disposal and your ability to create something tangible, you are faced with choices. The choices that you have in life are based on the knowledge and experience you have obtained thus far. Therefore, the amount of choices you have are truly up to you!

I want to introduce a concept called integrative thinking.

Check out this situation...

Sometimes, I watch a show called "Entourage" on HBO. One of the main characters, Ari Gold (whose character is based on Ari Emmanuel, the high achieving brother of our new President Barack Obama's high achieving newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel) is a talented, successful, politcally incorrect, lovable bulldog of a Hollywood agent. He runs his own agency, has his own staff and lives what some would call the American Dream (rich, powerful, and pretty much does what he wants).

In a recent show, Ari was faced with a decision. A high end Hollywood exec offered him a position as the head of a movie studio...undoubtedly a step up. Ari was being courted with expensive gifts and money and by taking the position he would have access to more money and potentially more power. But Ari likes to do things his way, his staff wants him to stay (though they are often the brunt of his rants), and by taking the job, he runs the riskof giving up his autonomy, the empire he built, and becoming a "corporate bitch." Adding another twist, if he doesn't take the job, the woman next in line to get it hates his guts and would make his, his agency, and his clients lives a living hell and potentially sink his company.

So, as my Old Earth would say, he has 6 in one hand and half a dozen in the other.

Or does he?

What would you do?

Think about it...

Think a little more...

Got it?

Of course, while watching the show, I was asked what I would do, and it turned out that what I suggested was exactly what Ari decided to do.

What was my solution?

For Ari to look within his network and identify another person to recommend for the studio position who would be an ally to his agency. Now, throughout the episode, there was a skilled woman who he had a past nefarious encounter with who was eager to be Ari's number 2 at his agency. By recommending her for the position, Ari dodged the bullet of the other woman who hates his guts, he gets to continue to run his own agency, and the woman who he recommended for the studio position will funnel movies and other opportunities his agency's way.

Hence, all is well in wonderland.

How often are we faced with situations where we only cee Option A or B and neither option looks good? Both options may have substantial risks, and within those options, serious errors can be made and one can feel trapped.

B.u.t. the solution to the above mentioned situation was an example of...

integrative thinking

Integrative thinking is a concept I came across while reading the Harvard Business Review (the magazine produced by Harvard University's Business School). It is essentially creating a another option when the options before you are not appealing. It's having the insight to obtain the best out of the choices or models in front of you and creating a new model that works for all parties involved.

"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."
Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto)

Integrative thinking is an essential quality of leadership, conflict resolution and decision making. It's what takes mediocre leaders to being great leaders. It's what makes great politicians, businesspeople, organizational leaders, etc. And this can be distilled down to day to day decisions i.e. how a person runs their home, how a person figures out how to stretch out that last dollar and put food on the table, etc.

The application of this concept is endless! It's making a way out of what seems to be no way. Oftentimes, generating an integrative solution requires more base building (your base being knowledge and exposure) and deeper thought. It's taking yourself out of panic mode and showing the creativity of the original man and woman. It's expanding your view and looking at all the pieces on the chess board...not just the king or the queen.

Some of us do this everyday, and some, like myself, need to create more of these moments. So do yourself a favor and be creative in your execution because its' all about your perspective. Integrative thinking can be the difference in your perpetual success or failure. It is one of the key factors that may determine whether you will always be sitting at someone else's table, or having a table of your own.


I Medina Peaceful Earth


  • At 8:37 AM, Blogger Satori said…

    This was a powerful BUILD! I am so excited about the way you stated this and defind the alternative way of thinking my teacher is constantly trying to help me understand.
    this was a gift.. thank you!


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