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Commonsensical Thinking In Business | Idea Age Consulting

The word “commonsensical” recurs frequently in my consulting, speaking and writing. If you’ve been a client for any length of time or if you’re a frequent visitor to this website you’re probably a little sick of hearing about it. However, few ideas you will be exposed to in business are more important today.

What exactly does it mean for something to be commonsensical?



"Commonsensical", is a derivative word referring to any action, approach, strategy, tactic, or tool that is reflective of common sense given the context. That something is commonsensical does not necessarily mean that it will be best, or even most profitable.

All it means is that the chosen approach is generally reflective of good judgment by the decision maker; that it is practical, actionable and preferable given the immediate context of the decision. Going deeper, let’s examine some of the attributes that commonsensical approaches display.

They are:

Practical – Approaches that are likely to be effective especially because they account for constraints such as team resources, budget restrictions, deadlines and emotion/momentum and even mental/cultural challenges.

Actionable – Approaches that draw a simple and uncomplicated line connecting internal opportunities, strengths and resources to visible objectives through simple tasks. A strategy or an objective, no matter how large, is actionable when it can be broken down into its simplest (or most affordable) tasks, and transformed into an action plan.

Resource-Accountable – Whether the relevant sensitivity is Return on Investment (ROI), Return on Time Invested (ROTI), or looking at how Dollar-Accountable a particular approach is, few commonsensical decisions will fail this test.

Illustrative of Good Judgment – Approaches that are not in violation of the most obviously prudent actions that would seem to apply to the context. They aren’t wasteful. They aren’t inherently destructive. They aren’t primarily vendetta or ego-driven. They are emotionally balanced, ethically and morally optimal.

They are and in good standing with precedent where underlying conditions have not changed.

Applying Commonsensical Thinking to Idea Age Challenges



An approach that is commonsensical in one instance may not be commonsensical in another. The difference depends on the context of the decision. And I believe that there is no larger socio-cultural and business context today, than what I refer to as “The Idea Age”.

The idea age is a period of overwhelming information, differentiated from the preceding “information age” by a few key principles:

Where the information age was marked by new ability to access information as a major differentiator for individuals and organizations, in the idea age, it will be the ability to glean insight from information, and wisdom from a deluge of knowledge, that will be the difference between success and failure.

For organizations, this means the culture must embed how to cut through complexity for timely decision making and execution. For individuals, it means learning how to deal with information overload and subsequent conditions of overwhelm.

To help, we have developed some rules of thumb to help the average individual and executive to make crucial decisions in an atmosphere of relative overload, complexity and maybe even uncertainty.

The Precious Pearl Principle – What’s the most important thing? What’s the thing without which none of the other alternatives of action will work? What’s the key problem? What’s the core constraint?

The Proximity Principle – Which alternative course of action lends itself to the resources, assets or advantages that are “nearby”? What are our hidden assets? Why is “near” better than “far” in terms of resource proximity? Is this an exception to the “near” better than “far” rule? And if so, why?

The Idea Age Principle – Does this choice leverage/harness some of the key trends of the Idea Age? Does this decision mitigate some of the key challenges of the Idea Age?

These are just a few of the thinking tools that we apply in the course of client problem-solving because we emphasize commonsensical business thinking.

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Common sense thinking in Business is a hallmark of the coaching and consulting services we offer. Ask today about Asset Based Coaching & Consulting for your business!

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