Vertical Thinking Is A Good Thing, But It Is Not The Only Thing

In this age of specialization, there is a trend that is somewhat bothersome: the tendency of some specialists to define a problem and its solution only within the confines of their specialty. For sure, many problems can be resolved that way. But, in some cases their expertise is so great and their reputation so solid that people may be reluctant to question the solution if they have inklings that the problem may have a wider scale. In other cases, they may be so worried about losing a client that bringing someone else in on a project is not desired. By no means is this piece meant to demean specialists-they are bright, hard workers, well educated and experienced and deservedly respected and honored. But there is more to consider. Here’s an example: in medicine, there are internists-generalists-whose job it is to look at the whole patient and understand the interaction of the marvelous systems that make our bodies and minds function. There are also specialists-cardiologists, surgeons, endocrinologists and a host of others. The internist’s job is to consider the whole patient and bring to bear those specialties that can work together to solve a complex patient problem. So, if you have a problem in your business, are you taking a balanced approach to its definition and solution? If you can clearly define the problem, then you can see what other areas of your business impact the area with the problem or are impacted by the area with the problem. Then you are on your way to a comprehensive solution.