Meet The Thoughtstarters

Meet The ThoughtstartersThoughtstarters have the strategic talents of thinking and conceiving that keep us all more inquisitive and progressive. Visionary and analytical, they’re all about theory, big ideas and direction. They seem to be driven by a natural need for knowledge and reason, and they’re at their best when they’re up against a philosophical challenge.

To the Thoughtstarter, ideas are more important than action, logic more important than emotion. Expertise is what Thoughtstarters strive for most, as they have a core need to perfect their abilities, which center on strategy, vision, and ingenuity.

A Thoughtstarter’s thinking is purely rational, highlighted by philosophy, theories, and concepts; these are their lifeblood and the tools they use to influence others.

At the team level, look to the Thoughtstarters to stimulate new ways of thinking and approaching problems. Constant forward progress toward a grand vision drives them, and any talk of details and practicality only work to deflate their day.

Thoughtstarters have hungry minds, forever seeking knowledge at all levels, and for them, the day is not complete unless they’ve learned something new.

The Thoughtstarters’ broad themes of natural excellence derive from the logical, spatial and linguistic aptitudes, and run along the lines of:

Optimizing: Creating excellence and maximizing competence; achieving the highest levels of performance

Directing: Strategically establishing chains of command; structuring plans to provide direction

Strategizing: Comprehensively considering all contingencies and alternatives to chart the best course of action

Analyzing: Critical thinking; relying on cold logic and sound reasoning; identifying causes and influences

Envisioning: Painting compelling pictures of the future to inspire and guide action; long range planning

Inventing: Engineering and prototyping; devising working models of new solutions and methodologies

Theorizing: Hypothesizing, conceiving and testing new frameworks of thought; experimenting with ideas

Investigating: Perpetually increasing scholarly knowledge; continually questioning; researching; studying

Designing: Architecting and blueprinting ideas and concepts into structural models and working systems

Synthesizing: Combining and composing seemingly unrelated components in a clear, cohesive system

Keeping in mind that we all have some Thoughtstarter in us, are you a natural born Peacekeeper?

Try this: print the list above. Put a checkmark on each talent area that comes easily to you. Then put a checkmark on each one that you truly enjoy. Put a third checkmark on each one at which you demonstrate excellence.

If the majority of themes have all three checkmarks, consider yourself a Thoughtstarter.

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Matthew E MayMatthew E. May is founder of EDIT Innovation and author most recently of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything.

Matthew E May




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