Understanding How Successful Leaders Think
By Sandy Schroeder
I have worked with a variety of successful people, and it has always been interesting to see how they think. Some were very creative. Others were quite deliberate, but in every case they made a great deal of their effort count.
Business Insider took a look at this recently, outlining some of the things to watch for and consider using.
Be open to all sorts of ideas and people - Thinking leaders never isolate themselves. Instead they read widely, talk with all sorts of people, and are constantly looking for new directions.
Use the 80/20 rule - Successful people focus 80 percent of their energy on the most important 20 percent of their work. That intensified concentration maximizes efforts and produces the best product. Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Zero in on the key issues to get results.
Think for yourself - It’s tempting to follow popular ideas, assuming all of the work has been done already, but that can be dangerous. Popular ideas may simply spring up from fads or catchy phrases, and fade quickly. Use your head to evaluate your ideas and those around you.
Connect with smart people - Thinking people often look for other quick thinkers to trade ideas. Put a bunch of these people in one room and you may have a brilliant brainstorming session.
If you get a good idea, act on it - Really good ideas often have a short shelf life. People with patents will tell you this as they sometimes discover someone else had the same idea at the same time as they did.
Pick the very best material - Good thoughts take time to fully mature. Very carefully pick the ones that will grow up to be outstanding. If you pick a good one you can add to it to turn it into a full-scale project.
Plan as you go - When you are out there looking for new directions, have a plan in mind. The people who accomplish the most know they have to start with good specifics. Then they can add the spontaneous new ideas that show up. Strategic planning looks like this. Break the subject into parts. Decide what has to happen. Single out key issues. Evaluate resources and choose the right people to do the job.
Appreciate other people’s ideas - We learn the most when we look around and see different approaches that also work well. When we respect other people’s work our own ideas often grow in response.
Keep adding new material - Read widely, talk to all sorts of people, try totally new products. The idea is to stay open to new ways of doing things and new thoughts that challenge ours. That’s when we make the most progress.
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