Enquiring Minds

In his brilliant book ‘Drive’ Daniel Pink examines what factors are behind human motivation and what produces drive. He identifies the pursuit of mastery as a critical component to our drive but warns that only engagement can produce mastery. The fact is most people are not fully engaged in their work. The majority of practice owners are just going through the motions. Pink says ‘Solving complex problems requires an enquiring mind and the willingness to experiment one’s way to a fresh solution.’

 Whether you know it or not, your job is all about solving complex problems. Creating sustainable profitable growth for your practice in today’s challenging market conditions while simultaneously designing your business to be rewarding and fulfilling is the definition of a complex problem. So, you must develop your enquiring mind.

 I am no genius. Far from it. I have always had a slow, methodical approach to learning. It takes me a while to fully grasp things. But what I have always had from the day I signed on the lease for my first practice is an enquiring mind. I started in business completely unprepared for what challenges lay ahead. But I learned. I paid attention to what I saw. My practice has always been my laboratory. I try things, I experiment, I watch what happens. I read a lot of books. I learned from other’s experience and insights. When I identified a lack of knowledge about something I went into research mode to find out the facts. I educated myself.  * I am a fact-finder.

Warren Buffet, the most successful investor of all time, and the second richest man in the world, is in his eighties and he reads 6 hours a day. Educating himself, acquiring information and facts that he will use to make his business decisions. Now that should be a clue. The richest man in the world locks himself in a room away from distractions and reads. Maybe the wealth and the reading habits are related. Do you think?! Make it a personal goal to read more books this year than you did last year. Develop this habit.

Buffet’s business partner Charlie Munger (also in his eighties) is often quoted for his advice “Always go to bed smarter than when you woke up.” In other words ‘read!’ With nothing but an enquiring mind you can learn everything you need to solve any complex problem you face. It isn’t difficult to find information today. Information is everywhere and easily accessible. You don’t need to go back to university. You just need an enquiring mind.

*Fact-finder is one of the learning styles in the Kolbe test. The way a fact-finder acts is to first research all the facts and assemble all the information. Another Kolbe profile is the Quick Start. This person would rather dive in and do something and get it going as fast as possible. It’s important to know your own profile and the profile of your team members in order to play to your individual strengths.