Do You Have Thinking Partners?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Our work and lives are very complicated—and they become more so with every passing day. This is why we need high-quality thinking partners to help us process our insights and efforts. Thinking partners are key to helping us understand the myriad of thoughts and events that flood our daily lives. One of the best gifts to give yourself is the regular opportunity to work with thinking partners to process what is occurring and where you are going with your life.

So, who is a thinking partner? A thinking partner is someone who listens to you and offers you support and feedback to help you advance and learn. Many people can be good thinking partners. At some level, we all have them. They are our family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers we meet. The key is to recognize just how valuable they are and tap into what they can offer us. When we do this well, we can significantly accelerate our ability to process situations and act quickly. The quality of our thinking partners can transform our decision making and lives.

When seeking thinking partners, you should look for specific characteristics. It would be best if you enjoyed spending time with them. It will draw you into their orbit regularly. Good listeners are always valued as thinking partners. They should be willing to help you work through the insights you have, enhancing what you have been working on. It should be easy to reach out to them when you are grappling with really tough problems. The best part of thinking partners is you can have as many of them as you want. Some can be specialists, while others are generalists. Tough challenges are made easier with a cadre of thinking partners helping you decipher your best path forward.

A special kind of thinking partner is an executive coach. This is a person you hire to help you work on issues and offer a unique form of accountability. I have been utilizing an executive coach for years. Many of our members now use executive coaching to help their leaders grow. As you may know, David Freund, MACNY’s Chief Leadership Officer, coaches dozens of individuals and teams. I use both forms of help. I regularly meet with my coach, and I frequently turn to thinking partners for many challenging issues. It has genuinely helped me find better approaches to the opportunities and challenges I face routinely.

In this time of challenge, consider adding new thinking partners. Maybe it is time you hired a coach as well. Spend time discussing what is next for you and your business. You will find it personally and professionally rewarding to think through your challenges with others. We all need a hand in facing today’s rapidly moving and globally connected world.