A thought partner can be any individual sharing their knowledge or experience with other individuals in order to help them navigate a complex problem or issue. You may think that this sounds a lot like advice or getting someone’s opinion on a matter, however, thought partners bring positive benefits to themselves and to the people they help.
In my observations, colleagues who think similarly often echo the same idea, while colleagues who think differently can stretch ideas and the views of their colleagues to find new ways of approaching an issue. In my prior role as Program Officer with a Missouri-based health philanthropy, I experienced first-hand the tension that exists between two differing ideas and the beauty that comes when those ideas marry together.
The value inherent in a thought partner is not driven by their critical thinking skills, but by their openness to listening to the experiences of others. Thought partners value new perspectives and often seek outside experts or counsel to inform their work. Keeping up-to-date on the latest research, social trends, and topics in their field are what make thought partners valuable assets to any team or individual. Writing and a desire to be a part of a dialogue are key features of a good thought partner. They can breathe new life into an idea, or can help a team consider new modes of thinking. They can inspire individuals to consider alternative or bring clarity to a problem.
Before employing a thought partner, consider:
- What kind of thinker you are? The Harvard Business Review article entitled What Kind of Thinker Are You helps guide folks into ‘focusing’ on what your needs may be. Self-reflection is critical when choosing the best thought partner for your work, and can be difficult.
- What kind of kind of thinker you need? See HBR article above for more guidance!
- What issue or problem do I need help addressing? Hone in on every aspect of it. Journaling is a helpful start, but thought partners can help you map out the issue from every angle to help you come to the best solution for you.
Limitless Horizons Consulting, LLCs vision is to be a thought partner in providing forward-thinking solutions made for impact in healthcare. Its mission is to leverage data-driven programs and expert policy solutions with innovative grant making strategies to create positive change. The goal is to improve community health outcomes.
Established in 2019, Limitless Horizons Consulting, LLC has over a decades’ worth of experience implementing successful programs and policy solutions that have led to positive impact at the local, state, and national-level for vulnerable populations.
More information can be found at www.AndrewShag.com/Limitless-Horizons-LLC