Working With “Olympic Champions” – A Consultant Journal

One of the best things about my work is that I meet with brilliant people. They are world class; they are smart and intelligent; the “Olympic Champions” of their field. Real champions love truth, learning, wisdom and growth more than they love their last success. If you show them a way to become even better they will take it any time, any day and without a delay. Champions are simply more passionate about continuing to improve than they are about their accomplishments to date. That’s how they became champions. Here are lessons I learned from working with brilliant people.

1. The knowledge we seek is almost always already present in the room.

2. The work is to discover it. To remove what blocks it. To frame a context in which it reveals its meaning.

3. We are always more ready to move forward and envision a future when we are anchored in our strengths.

4. Love is the power of the heart. Inquiry is the power of the mind. Asking a question that opens up a new possibility is powerful. Inquiry fueled with the love of growth and new possibilities is the high octane energy of development.

5. Strategy formulation begins with asking the right questions. It helps the team unlock and ‘channel’ its collective intelligence.

6. Data, knowledge, wisdom, insight and intelligence are each a distinct thing.
Data is a collection of facts.
Knowledge is the capacity to read and understand the data.
Wisdom is the ability to create context and to place specific knowledge inside a broader frame of reference and experience wherein it reveals its meaning.
Insight is deciphering the portent, potential and future implication of what has been discovered.
Intelligence is the metabolic speed of this process; how well and how fast you turn data into knowledge, wisdom and insight.

7. A powerful framework can increase the available intelligence. It helps you accelerate the transformation of data to knowledge, wisdom and insight.

8. Knowledge is connecting the dots in the data to form a picture. Wisdom is placing the picture inside a series of pictures, to see the flow of what created the picture you are looking at and to decipher it’s meaning in the greater scheme of things. Insight is seeing and recognizing the invisible dimension and portent of all this.

9. Insight is found when you place yourself on the verge of the unknown. If your entire mental faculty is engaged in and focused on what you know, no new insight can find you. “A bucket full of water is a bucket full of water.”

10. When a team creates a unified vision they believe in and they trust each other inside it – they are positioned to go ahead and actualize it and make it into a reality. It is then that they would have the ultimate competitive advantage.

© Aviv Shahar

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