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The Power of Thinking Big for Leaders

It’s been over 50 years since David J. Schwartz published ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ with the simple premise of “Think BIG to live BIG”.  Now, in 2019 what power does ‘Thinking Big’ have for today’s business leaders?

In his book, David Schwartz tells us that we need to upgrade our thinking; that before we can achieve big things, we need to thinkbig things.  He believes that success is not determined by the size of your brain, it’s determined by the size of your thinking.  So, how do you think big, and how can that help you be a better leader? Here are a few strategies from the book to help you think bigger to be better.

Have a positive attitude

It’s much easier to lead a team and have them believe in you, when you believe in yourself.  As corny as that may sound, there is a lot of power in a ‘can do’ attitude.  Strong self-belief triggers the mind into figuring out problems, finding the answers and solving the issues no one else can.

When the mind doubts or ‘disbelieves’, we start to invent reasons to support doubts, which leads us nicely onto point number two:

Stop making excuses

The more successful someone is, the fewer excuses they are inclined to make.  They are also less prone to procrastination and complaining or blaming others.  People with few accomplishments in life are quick to explain why they haven’t achieved what people thought they could.  Great leaders believe in affording accountability, forward planning, and problem solving as much better alternatives to making excuses. 

Balance your modesty

This is a tricky one, especially when you are in a position of leadership.  In the UK, being self-deprecating is often seen as endearing and charming – however if you want to be a successful leader, you cannot sell yourself short.  To be a great leader you need self-belief (warning: although tipping into arrogance or misplaced grandiosity is also not the thing!). It is vital to be able to sell yourself and your team with confidence.  Think big about yourself and act accordingly.

You are what you say

Using positive language has a positive effect – simple right?  Yet how often in your meetings will people talk about facing ‘problems’, ‘opposition’, ‘lack of resources’ and how they are ‘trying’ to ‘work around’ them? Instead of these negative terms, choose your words carefully.  When you finish speaking leave people with positive imagery like: how challenges are being overcome, how great teams are being built, how competition is making us stronger and so on. This puts you in control and leaves others with a sense of comfort in your leadership.

Be an activationist

Big thinking means being a big ‘doer’.  Successful people are not passive in their lives, they are active! Rather than playing a ‘wait and see’ game and never getting anything done, they follow through on ideas and plans,  They set goals, take action, and achieve those goals.  That’s the power of big thinking.

To be a successful leader you need to sell yourself and your team; believe you can succeed, and you will. If you are sure you will fail, well you probably will!  Think bigger.

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Posted on Tue, September 17, 2019 in Leadership Organisational Development
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