Wharton professor Adam Grant, in his new book, Think Again, has been looking at how we utilise various styles of thinking and which are best for different situations, concluding that one particularly powerful one is not used nearly enough.
Too often, it seems, we revert to one of three common styles:
- The ‘Preacher,’ where we’re trying to convince others that we have the correct way;
- The ‘Prosecutor,’ where we’re trying to prove somebody else is incorrect;
- The ‘Politician,’ where we’re trying to win the approval of those around us.
There are, of course, times when these styles are appropriate, but the best leaders use a fourth one to great advantage – ‘Scientist.’
‘Scientists’ are constantly seeking out new information to refine their assumptions and models – even if this information disproves earlier ones. Leaders adopting this approach allow for their businesses to be more flexible, to adapt to new information and changing circumstances; in fact, in one Italian study mentioned, a group of budding entrepreneurs taught to think in this way brought in a staggering 40 times the revenue of a control group.
The message seems clear – to be successful, leaders need to put their pride aside, actively seek out new information and be open to changing their minds accordingly.