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Unmasking the Deep-Thinker: The Secret Weapon on Your Team

In the vast landscape of workplace personas, we encounter various characters – from the perennial circle-backer to the one who echoes others' ideas without realizing it. However, there's a persona often overlooked but with a subtle yet profound impact: the deep-thinker.



Contrary to the stereotype of someone lost in thought like Michelangelo's pensive statue, this deep-thinker possesses the ability to swiftly delve into profound contemplation. They can navigate the depths of complex issues, assess the core of a problem, and resurface with a plethora of innovative solutions. These individuals are natural process improvement enthusiasts, capable of identifying opportunities for enhancement in every aspect they examine. Although they may lack the authority or bandwidth to fix everything they identify, they play a crucial role in elevating organizational meaning.

 

Delving further, here are some defining attributes of deep-thinkers:

  • They swiftly identify core issues within processes or systems, avoiding surface-level or temporary solutions.

  • Once aware of a problem, they cannot ignore it, often uncovering aspects that others may prefer to leave unexplored.

  • Natural learners with a curiosity about improving processes using new methodologies or technologies.

  • Quick thinkers who, when granted decision-making authority, are eager to execute solutions promptly with high-quality and impact top of mind.

 

However, there are common misconceptions about this persona:

  • Their ability to quickly identify deep issues may be perceived as threatening by senior members.

  • Their desire to address root problems stems from a commitment to doing things right, not just for the sake of doing them.

  • While they may have fewer tangible outputs at year-end, they contribute intellectual value by challenging norms, identifying enhancements, and introducing new solutions.

  • Contrary to the assumption of slow work, they share ideas that, though ambitious, can significantly benefit the team and even the firm.

 

The question arises: if these individuals are so valuable, why aren't they talked about more? The answer lies in organizations still clinging to output-driven performance measurement.

 

Shifting to a value-driven approach recognizes the impact of deliverables as the primary metric, rather than sheer quantity.

 

As an individual contributor or people manager, your best strategy is to identify and closely collaborate with these deep-thinkers. They offer unique perspectives that can unveil hidden aspects to propel your team forward. Further, the approach requires curiosity and open-ended questions to appreciate the quality over quantity in their contributions.

 


Challenge: Encourage yourself to identify the deep-thinker on your team, setting aside preconceptions and approaching them with curiosity about their perspectives on a system or process. The exchange promises mutual learning and the potential for ground-breaking insights. Embrace the power of the deep-thinker in your team and discover the transformative impact they can bring!


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