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Timeless Wisdom For Modern Leaders - Lead with Possibility Thinking

Per Winblad

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Universally acknowledged as one of the world's wisest leaders, King Solomon, applied leadership principles that are as relevant and powerful today as they were in his own time. This article examines the importance of leading with possibility thinking to inspire, encourage and motivate everybody around us.

Lead with Possibility Thinking

Wise leaders are possibility thinkers. They look for opportunities for development, where others are talking about problems.

Solomon says: “The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them. ”

The aim of wise leaders is to develop the accepted facts so they can create the new, better, or greater “something” that will endure over their lifetime and well beyond.

With the big picture of the desired situation in mind, leaders seek perspective that stimulates new ways of thinking and viewing. This releases energy into planning programs and activities for moving ahead.

In the same way, wise leaders support their team in the direction of their envisioned positive future. They impart their vision complete with attractive opportunities for team members to create and contribute to greater value for customers, employees and stakeholders. Not only do they inspire the team, but they also support each individual so all team members are lined up and happily pulling in the same direction.

Solomon says: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. ”

Our thoughts are powerful resource in creating what we want – or don’t want. They direct our actions and shape our lives and futures.

Whatever we dwell upon and think about grows and expands in our individual lives. Our thoughts are like seeds in a garden. What we plant today will grow tomorrow. If we plant roses, we reap roses. If we plant weeds, we will reap weeds.

Someone once said that we will be what we are thinking of each day. We therefore need to be aware of how we use our ability to think and how it will affect our lives and leadership.

When we are focusing our thoughts toward a positive future we become more full of energy, self-confidence and joy. Each situation we face becomes a positive one when we decide to see it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop toward the achievement of our deepest dreams.

Solomon says: “The wicked man’s fears will all come true, and so will the good man’s hopes. ”

Our thoughts and internal pictures are continually affecting our achievement.

If we grow positive expectations, they will lead to better performance. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When we focus on the possibility of success, we will act decisively and with optimism. We realize – that is we make real – that which we see within us.

All things are created twice: First inside, in our thinking, and then outside, in our doing. We are creating first mentally what we then physically implement, step-by-step, in our development process.

When we grow in possibility thinking, we are moving ourselves towards what we want. The opposite is problem thinking that concentrates on what is not working or is wrong.

A possibility thinker moves the question from “What it is that is not working?” To “What do we need to do to make it work?”

A wise leader strengthens the group by encouraging members to focus on the positive side of every situation and to see each other as resources for their development and success.

A positive and constructive approach towards our business environment gives us rewards in several dimensions.

Solomon says: “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!”

Wise leaders understand their role to be supportive of the individuals as well as the group to make choices toward positive pictures of the future.

With an attitude of faith in the team’s capability to handle the challenges that lies ahead wise leaders keep the hope alive. This helps the group to create an attitude of faith in the future and to build the determination to go there.

Likewise, the leader supports the group with reflections about the performance and thinking processes that have led to success in the past.

What are the three or four most important things we have done that has brought us to where we are today? What are we most proud of having accomplished?

Leadership is a major resource within us.

Solomon says: “A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick!”

To see things from the brighter side is a prerequisite for a healthy and active life. We feel better and live longer.

Feelings are infectious, and when we radiate an attitude of wellbeing it lifts others. Wise leaders feel good about themselves and infect others with their good humor. This includes being able to laugh at themselves and their situation from time to time.

They see their coworkers as valuable and important for the company’s overall success, which helps create a culture where everyone is optimistic, responsible and serving each other and an organization’s customers with pride and joy.

Solomon says: “Only a simpleton believes what he is told! A prudent man checks to see where he is going. ”

Thinking positively of the future is not the same as being naive.

Even if wise leaders are optimistic and recognize the positive about the future, they understand that setbacks, difficulties and suffering will come. It is a natural part of life and entrepreneurship that strengthen the passion and the purpose.

Solomon says: “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. ”

It is the ability to offer constructive analysis—to help ourselves to insight and self-knowledge—that gives a way out of the feelings of dejection we sometimes encounter.

Adversities inspire us in this way to grow despite the situation and to make the best of everything that happens. Wise leaders don’t just ignore problems. They acknowledge them, think positively, they analyze, course correct, and move ahead.

To become a wiser leader:

• See the future as a possibility and an asset.

• Constantly look for opportunities for development.

• Focus your thoughts on what you want to achieve.

• Be aware that you are creating that which you expect – so expect what you want!

• Believe in yourself and your capacity.

• Look at other people as an abundant resource for development and success.

• Expect the best from others, and you're likely to get it.

• Recognize that it is your choices, decisions, and actions, not your circumstances that determine how the future will be.

• Look for that which is good and constructive in all situations.

• Embrace humor and laugh at yourself and your situation now and then.

• Regularly exercise and build energy in a playful way.

Per Winblad, founder of Motivation Consultant Inc. , a well-respected international training firm, is recognized as one of Sweden's leading management coaches and an experienced leader in achieving leadership excellence. He is the author of the award winning leadership book “The Wisdom of Leadership". To find out more and get a free inspiring video, visit


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