Creating Great Choices · A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking · Book Review

Integrative Thinking

In “Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking,” authors Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin expand on the groundbreaking concept of integrative thinking first introduced by Martin in his earlier work, “The Opposable Mind.” The book serves as a comprehensive guide aimed at leaders and decision-makers who want to go beyond the limits of either-or choices and traditional problem-solving approaches. By providing practical tools and methods, the authors encourage leaders to embrace complexity and find innovative solutions that draw from multiple perspectives.

The strength of the book lies in its applicability. The authors not only discuss the theoretical underpinnings of integrative thinking but also provide an actionable framework for implementing it. Through real-world examples and case studies, the book illustrates how integrative thinking has been applied successfully across a range of organizations and scenarios. The authors are especially skilled at breaking down this abstract concept into a series of steps that can be easily understood and applied, making the book highly accessible.

The four-step model—Articulate the Models, Explore Possibilities, Assess Prototypes, and Make Adjustments—provides a structured approach for approaching complex problems. This framework does not advocate rushing to solutions; rather, it encourages a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved. The detailed explanations and vivid examples make it easier for the reader to grasp how to operationalize integrative thinking in different contexts.

However, while the book is commendable for its thoroughness, it can occasionally veer into repetition, making some sections feel longer than necessary. Additionally, those looking for quick fixes might find the framework daunting, as it calls for a deep, reflective process that may not suit all types of decision-making scenarios. The authors acknowledge this by emphasizing that integrative thinking is most useful for solving complex problems, but some readers might wish for guidance on how to adapt the principles for more straightforward challenges.

Despite these minor shortcomings, “Creating Great Choices” offers a thought-provoking and practically useful guide for anyone interested in improving their decision-making capabilities. It shows leaders how to transcend traditional binaries and create more robust, innovative solutions. Whether you are a seasoned executive, a budding entrepreneur, or simply someone who wants to improve their problem-solving skills, this book equips you with the tools to make better choices in an increasingly complex world.