In today’s impression-obsessed, content-rich, never-ending-narrative-building climate, there is a surplus of articles that exacerbate the importance of developing a strong competitive BRAND for your organization. But what about your company’s name? What about the thought behind your mission?
Nearly a year ago, I joined an organization named — very literally — after an approach. As anyone at Thought Ensemble will excitedly share with you, our name represents the way in which we engage with our clients and how we operate as a team. The name “Thought Ensemble” is the North star that ensures we make a tangible difference for our clients through thoughtful collaboration.
I’ve been so inspired by the meaning behind our name that I decided to spend some time with a few members of our leadership team to distill down the elements of what is true thoughtfulness.
Here’s what I found:
Thoughtfulness Requires Time
Time might very well be the most expensive commodity on earth. How often do we run from meeting to meeting with little time to stop — let alone think? Thoughtfulness requires time. When we are flying 120 miles/hour towards a solution, it can feel like the goal is to simply go fast and just not crash the (metaphorical) car.
As Thought Ensemble Partner Kyle Kidd explains, “We need to ask ourselves if we are going the correct direction before we end up in the completely wrong city.”
As such, we need to take the time to ask: are we solving the right problem?
This requires pulling off the proverbial highway and thinking about what we are doing. This effort might feel counterintuitive in the moment — but will yield tremendous results on the backend.
In other words, going from 20 steps in a process to 15 is not necessarily a win if the process itself isn’t needed! While it might take longer to perform some analysis on the front end, because of this layer of thoughtfulness, we will ultimately find ourselves moving more efficiently towards our goal with much fewer (and less costly) detours.
Thoughtfulness Requires Intentionality
We are not in the business of cookie-cutter slideware — and we don’t think you should be either.
Without thoughtfulness, you’ll often find yourself looking at a presentation full of “plug and play” solutions that provide very little real transformation. But you can’t always apply a blunt force instrument to every problem. We have found that taking a best practice framework and applying it with respect for a client’s organization requires — you guessed it — intentional thought.
Thought Ensemble Senior Partner John Justice will tell you that, “We start by anchoring to our client’s vision, prioritizing work and foundational success metrics to blend into a customized solution. You won’t find our team giving easy answers, but you will find our team partnering with you on the right answers.”
Whether we are working to enable change around a major business transformation, develop a new IT strategy, or merge business operations, we work hard to co-create a thoughtful, custom solution that still uses best practices — but does not become artificially limited by generic constraints.
Thoughtfulness Requires Investment
The ante is upped when a company chooses to put time, energy, and effort into acting on their core values. We believe we can only be thoughtful in our external projects if we are first internally thoughtful. Because of this, we invest in multiple channels for our team to sharpen and practice their own thoughtfulness. The entire company is engaged in this pursuit, starting with the example led by our senior leaders.
As I mentioned in the first two points, thoughtfulness is curated through time and intentionality. It will not happen by accident! As you consider how to increase thought and ideation in your teams, recognize that you first might need to adjust internal processes or priorities.
For us, we have established a culture that supports thoughtfulness. We pursue thoughtfulness through quarterly meetings focused exclusively on innovating through learning new topics and an annual internal company competition we call “Thought Crunch” that encourages new solutions and the sharing of differentiating perspectives.
We actively engage in professional development in order to gain practical expertise and new inspiration. These steps have now become meaningful habits.
As Thought Ensemble Partner Jeff Rabith reflects, “As a result of this intellectual curiosity, the team is equipped to analyze a situation and develop a different problem-solving approach, giving deep consideration for how to run projects.”
Reaching new levels of thoughtfulness is achievable for you and your team! It simply requires time, intentionality, and investment. Ask yourself, how might incorporating a renewed focus on thoughtfulness impact your conversations from brainstorming meetings to project status readouts? Can you create space for yourself and your team by providing tangible investments to curate new ideas?
As you focus on incorporating thoughtfulness into your culture, we hope you will find similarly meaningful outcomes as we have.