The Intelligent Leader

How does (s)he look like? What does (s)he really do that makes the difference? John Mattone, Steve Job’s coach, has some thoughts to answer that question.

He says that there are seven dimensions of Intelligent Leadership, and the very first one he calls out is “Thinking Differently, Thinking Big“. This is the first because it is non-negotiable, and because all the other dimensions of leadership rely upon it.

Big thinking means that you set trends rather than follow them and that you are willing to question and upset the status quo. This isn’t easy for people in positions of authority, and it is unfortunately rare in top leaders. After all, those in top leadership positions feel tremendous pressure to avoid mistakes because so much rides on their decisions. Stability and consistency often seem to be the most logical path.

Big thinkers are willing to hold and share massive visions, like John F. Kennedy’s 1961 vision of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. People tend to quash even their own massive visions, let alone share them, but the intelligent leader is willing to take the risk.

Big thinkers are also interested in the long game. They develop a long-term strategy, pursue it, and stick with it. It sounds so simple, yet so few leaders do it. Intelligent leaders also begin with the end in mind, which is another way of stating the importance of setting goals and mapping out a plan to achieve them. 

Cultivating qualities of big thinkers requires directed effort.

Techniques that work include:
– Setting aside regular time to unplug and think
– Being open to new ideas and opportunities, including imperfect opportunities
– Defining what is real and actionable in support of big goals
– Bouncing ideas off others (because conversation is great for idea generation)

The Importance of Knowing Your Core Purpose (CPS)

The CPS describes your most fundamental vision for yourself and captures the essence of the person you want to be. It is a foundation for navigating the many decisions you will make in life.

Creating your own CPS requires intense self-reflection and answering key questions, pondering, reviewing, and updating with time. A few of the key questions are:

“What do I really want to be and do in life?”
“How do I want to be remembered?”
“What would I do with unlimited time and resources?”

Intelligent leaders have the courage to think big and think differently. They know it isn’t easy, because if it was easy, everyone would do it. They also know that thinking big and thinking differently make up only one dimension of being an intelligent leader. Yet it a fundamental dimension, and something on which all the other dimensions of leadership depend.

I’m looking forward to reading his upcoming book,
The Intelligent Leader, that will be launched in a few days from now on.

If you’d rather think about it with a business coach – take a trial with me.
You can book a free spot right here.