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Tired of the lesser of two evils? Try Integrative Thinking

Escape the tyranny of having just two paths to take.

We're taught that making decisions is about looking at distinct options and picking the best, which sometimes means picking the least bad. But is there a better way to get the solutions you need?

Jennifer Riel, associate director, Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking at Rotman School of Management, discusses how HR professionals and employers can use the approach to get what they really want or need.

Video transcript below:

Caitlin Nobes, HRM Online
Caitlin Nobes:
 How often do you find yourself choosing between two imperfect solutions?  Integrative thinking could be the approach you need.  I’m Caitlin Nobes, you are watching HRM TV.
To face the lesser of two evils is indicative of how society views decisions.  Even if no solution is perfect you have choose one.  But is there a better way?

Jennifer Riel, Rotman School of Management
Jennifer Riel:
 What if my job was to create a new and better answer.  Out of the existing options, but better than either one.  That’s what integrative thinking is really about.

Caitlin Nobes:  If your company has been going back and forth on a particular problem, it might be a sign that a new approach is needed.  Your options might seem absolute, but finding a third way forward could find you the best outcome for your company. 

Jennifer Riel:  In new situations integrative thinking is about saying actually what I want is consistency and agility, I want control and adaptability to the local market and integrative thinking is a way of thinking through how do I come to that better answer.  What could an answer that gives me the best of both worlds actually look like?

Caitlin Nobes:  So you want to start using integrative thinking, what’s the first step?  According to Riel, it’s key that you start listening to people who disagree with you. 

Jennifer Riel:  That person sees something about the world that I don’t see and that’s actually a gift rather than a challenge.  So if instead of avoiding them or arguing with them, I actually seek them out, I seek to understand the way that they see the world, that can really help me come to a better answer, it can expand how I think about the world.  

Caitlin Nobes:  So incorporating dissenting views to looking for creative options, taking the integrative thinking approach could find you better solutions without compromising on important issues.  I’m Caitlin Nobes, thanks for watching HRM TV.