One friend of mine described to me the concept of
vertical thinking versus horizontal thinking.
In short, vertical thinking says "if it isn't
working, do it more, harder, faster". Horizontal
thinking says "if it isn't working, do something
Three examples of vertical thinking are gun control,
trying to contact someone by telephone. And nut
setter tips that wear out.
Gun control: After outlawing private ownership of guns in
Washington DC, violence is at an all time high.
Vertical: Well, then, outlaw assault weapons, close the
gun show loop hole, register all guns, outlaw knives and
baseball bats, too.
Horizontal: Look for the root causes, and start issuing
gun licenses to good people. Work on strong
families, and cut down on violence on TV.
Contact: I had a case where the battery in my pager
went dead. The answering service had a call for me,
but I didn't answer the pager.
Vertical: The gal beeped me several times, and then
had one of her kids keep dialing my beeper number.
Horizontal: I had been sitting next to the telephone
at home. She coulda called me at home and I woulda
answered on the second ring.
Nut setters: I used to install HVAC. We used a lot of
sheet metal screws. I found that the Stanley brand tips
from Home Depot wore smooth in less than one install.
Vertical: I bought several more tips.
Horizontal: Mentioned this to my boss, who gave me a
Malco brand nut setter -- which has lasted for years,
for me. Boss was at that moment a horizontal
Christopher A. Young
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