Workplace: Slot Canyon Thinking

A slot canyon is formed when water works its way deep into basalt or sandstone and creates a deep, narrow canyon; one that is more narrow than it is deep. These slot canyons can be treacherous, especially in the event of a flash flood. People have died in slot canyons in the United States as recently as July 2021.

Getting to a slot canyon can be difficult. While in a slot canyon, it is beautiful. Getting out of it can be difficult. If one is caught in a flash flood, the likelihood of getting out is very low.

When describing someone’s thinking style recently, I described it as “Slot Canyon Thinking” – meaning a person who has a deeply held conviction or opinion who also is unwilling to consider other points of view or other possibilities. Just as with climbing scenarios, slot canyon thinking can seem beautiful when in it because everything reinforces what is already believed. However, just as with the geologic slot canyons, once in this thought process, danger can occur if re-assessment and rethinking does not happen.

Think Again by Adam Grant comes to mind. He’s got a quiz on his site that allows you to identify which or which combination of four thinking styles you have. Our team took the quiz and compared our results – they rang true to us and gave us insight in how to work more effectively together.

Back to slot canyon thinking. While being in a slot canyon can be beautiful and exhilarating, it can also be isolating. You are hard to get to. Others may choose not to join you for the experience. And, if a flash flood occurs (a change in information, a safety situation, or anything that makes being locked in one mode of thinking dangerous), you may not get out alive. Literally.

When have you found yourself in a slot canyon of thinking? What was the arena of thought or opinion? Are you still in that canyon? Is it still beautiful and safe?

Or, has a flash flood occurred and you need to think differently? Immediately – like the fire crew Adam Grant talks about in his Prologue!

Check out your own thinking. Notice the thinking styles of others. Figure out how to think more helpfully, communicate more clearly, and problem solve most effectively.

 Want to think and re-think the problem-solving and thought-processes at work? Or explore how to improve morale? Perhaps you are ready to review your business practices. Contact Jana: 208-367-1701

As the author of seven books, in seven languages, Jana has been interviewed by U.S., Canadian, and European programs, and magazines. Her presentations have been seen in the United States and India by international audience members.

Workplace – the Blog: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. Together we can find working solutions.

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