How have great leaders throughout history thought? What processes have they used? What outcomes have they had?

Could it be that the way they think is part of what made them a great leader?

The actual process of thinking is either one of the easiest or one of the most difficult things to do.

We have all developed certain thought habits over our lives.  With new technology constantly pumping us full of information, we may have let our thought life weaken.  We may have held wrong beliefs, because we used weak thought processes to arrive at our conclusions.

We may have started taking action without asking why.


Great leaders think big

Great leaders were often great thinkers.  They blazed new trails in the world of ideas, and impacted the lives of many people.  I have observed three types of thinking in great leaders:

  1. Big Picture Thinking
  2. Strategic Thinking
  3. Reflective Thinking

What do these leaders have in common?

These leaders think big.  Regardless of their personality style or temperament, they considered thinking an art form.

It takes time to think and it takes time to think about your thinking.  Whatever your style, when you think big, you can enjoy the fruit of your vision without getting caught up in every negative thing that comes along.

Thinking big is a skill to be developed.  It does not happen overnight.  There are many habits to break and many mental roadblocks to work around.

The number one thing that effects how you think is the people with whom you surround yourself.

Think about your closest friends and coworkers.  Are they big thinkers? Complainers? Small minded? Big-picture thinkers? Strategic? Fearful? ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’. How are the people around you sharpening you?

The way your inner circle thinks will rub off on you, whether you want it to or not.  Are you cultivating the relationships with people who think the way you want to think?

The number one way to measure the fruit of your thought life is the action you take.

Are you acting on your thoughts? What success are you seeing with your thought processes?  What failures? Both success and failure give you motivation to think about things in new ways.  You must learn from your life experiences by reflecting on the actions you take. (Click here to read about reflective thinking.)

Do not be afraid to take action.  Winston Churchill even said the only action he was concerned about was inaction.

Now, consider:

  • How do your friends and colleagues impact your thinking?
  • What have you learned from your life experiences?
  • What changes do you need today to learn how to think big?