Building Ideas through Association

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jun 12

What does the phrase “it’s like apples and oranges” mean to you? For most of us, it means that what you are talking about is different and not the same.

But for those who are associative, apples and oranges are very similar because they are both fruit. So associative people hear the “apples and oranges” of ideas and look for how the ideas are similar. Not different. For an associative person, comparing an apple to a hubcap is a more appropriate analogy.

You can probably guess than I’m an associative person. I hear an idea and want to figure out how it is similar to other things in my life. Or how I could use the idea, with some changes, to incorporate into my life or work.

Associative people follow the rule of Impromptu: always add to the conversation, no matter how unlikely the scenario.

Impromptu — by adding to the conversation — is a tough skill to learn.

All too often, we hear an idea and reject it at face value. Too often, we take the gift of an idea from a friend and object to how the idea won’t work for us in our particular situation.

It’s easy to destroy. It’s very difficult to build.

The rest of this week, take every idea that you hear and build on how the idea might work for you or your work situation. Figure out that apples and oranges are really part of the fruit family and what may come out of all of the synergy discussion is neither an apple or an orange — but, instead, a banana.

Add to the conversation.