Connecting the dots is more than the game you grew up playing, and it’s a skill that is increasingly important as you mature in your career and move into more strategic roles.
People who are able to “connect the dots” are forward thinkers, innovators, and leaders. They have a unique ability to see the forest from the trees while simultaneously seeing the small details that may be more relevant to the big picture. Dot connectors are tuned in to key pieces of information and they understand the importance of how it relates to other, often seemingly unrelated, information.
Those who “connect the dots” make a logical or implied connection between facts or disparate pieces of information in order to arrive at a solution or conclusion.
Connecting the dots is not an easy skill to learn, but there a few easy things you can do to promote the ability within yourself.
- Be in tune to the interactions you have. Don’t just listen to the words spoken in a conversation, but really digest them, the facial expressions that the accompany them, and other intricacies of your interactions. Note everything that is being communicated, not just the words spoken.
- Retain the information that you gather. Either take notes or summarize your interactions shortly after they take place (a good way to do this is to follow up with a summary email). Learn to retain information that is important and keep it on top of your mind.
- Set time aside for thinking. Review your notes from previous meetings and conversations, and think about how all of the information you’ve received might benefit from other intel that you have gathered.
- Be purposeful. When faced with a challenge, don’t assume the obvious. Dig through your mental backlog and process whether unrelated intelligence may be more relevant than it seems.