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The Twenty-Thousand Foot View

Do you know someone who loves to brainstorm and is great at bringing valuable ideas to the table? Then you know someone who is (primarily) a “Birther.” Birthers are people who have an innate capacity to see things from twenty-thousand feet up.

They can see the lay of the land, know what needs to happen to make a situation better. These people are invaluable because of their vision, problem-solving skills, and creativity. They are often not tethered to how things have been done before, and are looking for innovative ways to make an impact in the world. Birthers are often optimists and see how the world could be better and more inclusive and bring this out in their coworkers.

Steve Jobs and Richard Branson are famous examples of Birthers. They have ideas and vision and want to make things happen based on their view of what will make the world/industry better. Birthers derive their energy in part from generating ideas and developing new or innovative concepts (sometimes regardless of their practicality). Birthers generally aren’t exceptional at taking their ideas and making them happen. They’re dreamers, philosophers, and thinkers more than implementers.

From a leadership perspective, it’s helpful to identify positions that require this skill set and talent. It’s not a great fit to hire a Birther into an administrative job where the person will do the same thing every day. They’ll come to you frequently with suggestions of how to change things, with questions of why things are done a certain way. If we’re not careful, we can take these questions as an attack, when the person is being who they are and voicing how their brain works and what interests them. Having a Birther in a repetitive position can snuff out their spark and cause you lots of headaches.

A Birther’s skill set is relevant (and potentially revolutionary) in many positions that require creative thinking, strategic planning, and research and development over a wide range of industries.

Questions to ponder:

● Who do I know that has this personality type and what do I appreciate most about them?

● Where do I have Birthers in my organization and am I (are we) giving them opportunities to use their talents to their full potential?

Stay curious friends!

P.S. Have you followed our podcast yet? We talk about these ideas and more to help you be your most authentic leader-self. You can find the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher! Check it out today!

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