Vertical thinking must sit on top of horizontal thinking, as horizontal thinking as a natural dependency of vertical thinking.

Say that three times fast. Ha!

But let me break that down – I started with my conclusion.

There’s a certain perspective that comes with creating things, and I think understanding the difference between vertical and horizontal thinking is important.

There’s the “skyscraper” method of thinking, or what I’m calling “vertical thinking”, and there’s the ‘broke let’s fix it” method, which is what I’m calling “horizontal thinking.”.

The idea of “broke let’s fix it” is that any given thing that isn’t operating at 100% capacity is, in effect, broken.

That’s not necessarily UNTRUE, but it naturally makes it feel as if there is only “fixing” that can be done.

If you can only “fix” something, it means that you constantly have only 1 flat object, and you constantly have to bull-doze and recreate that 1 object.

Horizontal thinking.

I think that instead of focusing on “broken” and “fixing”, we could instead think of it vertically.

The difference is to move away from perceiving the way things are as one whole thing, and instead see circumstances, or processes, or whatever, as single layers in a vertical stack. Where each layer supports other things further up the stack: like the floors of a building.

I believe this thinking holds true for single sections of a company, like finances or creative or sales, but also on a grander scale.

I believe that each of those individual layers serves as pillars for other parts of the structure to be built.

Perceiving things as vertical allows us to identify the things that have been done well, and then prepare for the next floor to be built on top of that, to take things up to a new tier, if you will.

It also allows us to consider layers in the structure individually. If one layer has something amiss it likely does affect the rest of the vertical, but the entire structure does not need thrown away – probably the layer doesn’t even need thrown away.

Most likely you just need to focus some attention on improving that layer.

Thinking vertically also creates appreciation and admiration for current and past efforts, even if they can still be improved upon.

As opposed to disparaging them as being “broken” and that your new way is the “actual” way it should be done, which is probably only true in very rare cases.

Vertical thinking allows looking towards what can be done in the future to build up the whole structure.

When you’re thinking about the future and building up, you’ll naturally need to review the stability of the current layers, and noting those layers during that “improvement” mindset naturally reduces the amount of negative you bring to any person or thing involved in that layer, past or present.

That all being said, we still need to think of things in a horizontal manner in order to create that first layer to be built upon.

So, vertical thinking must sit on top of horizontal thinking, as horizontal thinking as a natural dependency of vertical thinking.