I’m coaching a client to complete their dissertation and one of the key components of the work is getting the logic flow solid enough to pass his advisor’s muster. He started with a broad statement of purpose and has moved into more granular detail, ultimately resulting in the specific research question for his research. His advisor calls this the “martini glass” – where you begin with a broad perspective and ultimately narrow to a targeted argument.

We’ve spent so much time on this one component that I am ready to use a real martini glass myself, but she is right that if he can get the elements and flow right in the beginning, everything that follows will be easier.

Too often, we fail to make the time to think through a solid logic flow before we just jump right in and start doing. Before you begin your next big project, draw yourself a martini glass. Put your purpose at the top, your supporting points to follow and your specific course of action just above the stem.

For example, the martini glass for the dots could be:

The ability to see things from a new perspective is a skill worth cultivating.
Stories and examples are actionable ways to learn new concepts.
I have honed the ability to connect the dots and explain their meaning in memorable ways.
A blog is an effective format that allows me to share my thinking.
I’ll write daily leadership dots to help others learn to see with new eyes.

Writing out this flow helps me remain focused on the goal of the dots – that it is not any of the specific lessons, rather to provide examples that teach people how to see things differently and make connections on their own.

Try it for yourself. Sketch out your own martini glass as an up-front method of keeping your purpose and process in focus. Just the act of doing so will enhance your thinking.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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