Every business runs on thinking, mostly in two modes: divergent and convergent. I’ve been researching this, and I just published my findings in a new report to help individuals, teams, and organizations tap both modes.

Divergent thinking helps you create — generating many alternatives. Convergent thinking helps you decide — choosing among alternatives. The two modes’ power arises from how and when you alternate between them.

Yet individuals and organizations tend to favor one mode over the other when they shouldn’t — or misapply them (using both but out of balance). Divergent and convergent thinking are the yin and yang of success at blending creative problem solving with rigorous analysis, prioritization, and operational efficiency. You and your company can become adaptive thinkers — experts at when and how to tap which of the two modes for maximum impact.

Companies such as LEGO and USAA actively guide employees toward becoming world-class adaptive thinkers — proactively and effectively choosing between and applying divergent and convergent thinking depending on which mode is best suited to the situation. Why? Because they know: 1) the opportunity cost of getting stuck in divergence and therefore not getting to market in time and 2) the risk of not diverging enough and therefore converging (or almost converging) on the wrong solution.

Sound complicated? The most important thing is to just get started. Check out my new report: “The Adaptive Thinker: Flex Between Divergent And Convergent Thinking To Win.” It will help you know which mode you are using when; decide which mode is best for what; and improve at both modes — especially your weaker mode.

CX leaders, you can — and should — do this. And it starts with yourself.