We made a list of people we thought were great thinkers (at least better than us) and brainstormed questions we would want to ask them. Some questions were specifically about thinking. For example, “Do you have a specific routine or place for thinking?” Other questions were related to decision making, problem solving and leadership issues in general.
Our first interviews were generally with people that we were already acquainted with. To expand the network of our great thinkers, we asked each interviewee for the names of people he/she thought was a good thinker. Through this method, we have been able to vary the geographical location and career field of our interviewees.We are constantly looking for more billionaire thinkers to diversify our current pool and create a more comprehensive understanding of great thinking.
The other aspect of “and not or” was evident in the hiring process. The best thinkers are not satisfied in selecting a candidate who has some of the skills, attributes and knowledge they need but have (or can acquire) all the skills, attributes and knowledge necessary for the position. They see new hires and their unique viewpoints as resources that will enhance their own ideas instead of people who need to converted to their own solution. Both their own perspective and the new perspectives are valuable to reaching the end goals.
The best thinkers believe that the actions of an organization need to be completed by many people and therefore as a leader it is part of their responsibility to have thought through how a decision will impact others as it unfolds. This includes who will be involved in the implementation and how the feedback loop would be developed to determine the effectiveness of the actions.