" If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to think from a different angle. You can't think outside the box, you have to think as if the box doesn't exist." - Jeff Bezos
Jeff suggests a relentless challenge leaders and business owners face and frankly one to which many don't give adequate attention and value. What you think and the way you think is the defining and most influential element of running a business and being a leader. In fact, it is your most important leadership asset!
What is a must-have leadership asset?
- shapes your view (aka creates the world you perceive)
- impacts your feelings
- drives your decision-making
- influences who you hire
- impacts the effectiveness of your problem-solving
- defines your judgment
- limits or expands your vision
- self-suggests what's possible
- determines how you self-manage
... to name a few.
This list describes how you operate internally - all of which manifests external results. The results produce your success and that of your company...or not.
This truth carries significant meaning for those who choose to or are forced to lead (we know not all leaders really want to do so, but "have to" by default).
If one would ask, what would be the most important function any leader or business owner should pay the most attention to, what would be the most popular answer? With the list above in mind, what should be the answer?
The answer -- our thinking! -- what and how we think should be the single most important area to which we as leaders should give our attention.
Our thinking is the origin of everything we experience in life and therefore intentionally, even strategically tending to it should be a priority and habitual practice.
Here's a series of questions to consider to begin the work of becoming a skilled steward of the most important asset you have -- your ability to think. These will help you build awareness around your current thinking practices. (By the way, this is a great list to do with your leadership team). If you are a key leader -- can you answer these about your leadership team?)
- What kind of thinker are you? How would you describe it?
- How would you describe your natural decision-making style?
- Do you map the results and impact?
- Do you have a method for problem-solving?
- Do you acknowledge your intuition?....aka follow your gut?
- Are you aware of how you describe events to yourself -- "the stories you give a situation"?
- Do you consider yourself a creative thinker?
- What practices do you use to activate fresh thinking?
- In general, are you aware of your thought process?
- How much and how often are you "learning" ....that is taking in new information?
- How diverse is your learning repertoire?
- As a leader, is learning and developing thinking skills a part of your leadership culture and your company culture in general?
Again, why is this so important? Why do I consider it the key to getting the results you desire? Because, ultimately you can only go as far as your thinking. Contemplate this profound truth. Your ability to lead your company, leverage your talent, work with your staff, fulfill a vision or even have a vision that is not limiting, face today's ever changing market challenges, is all based on your ability to think...and how to facilitate that in all your employees.
Your thinking dictates your level and degree of success -- for yourself and others!
In fact your thinking impacts the profitability of your company.
If you've not seriously considered this, how will you respond?...what action will you take?
I'll close with 3 of my favorite "thinking" quotes:
"You cannot solve a problem at the same level of thinking at which you arrived at it." - Albert Einstein
"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." - William James