Daniel Wikar Personal blog about Analytics, Big Data, Microsoft and IT

Thinkers vs Repeaters

Creative and critical thinking are key factors in both creating and sustaining success.

During my career I have come across two different groups of people, as always there’s really a spectra between the two but to be able to clearly describe the distinguishable differences I’ll focus on the extremes; Thinkers and Repeaters

So what’s the characteristics of a Thinker? They think for themselves, have a mind of their own and have the ability to create new creative/critical thoughts out of thin air based on their own experience and competence. Nothing is taken for granted and they don’t trust blindly, everything has to be proven and evaluated. They welcome external input for inspiration, challengement or enlightenment - but this is something they consciously evaluate to validate, oppose or reshape their own thoughts.

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” - Peter F. Drucker

The Repeaters on the other hand can seem and sound very initiated, they can be charismatic and well-spoken but the actual words coming out of their mouths are based not on thoughts of their own but rather the words of other Thinkers or Repeaters. They depend on other people to do the thinking for them to repeat and present as their own, be it colleagues, subordinates, consultants or other external parties with or without agendas of their own.

Repeaters have a hard time (often unknowingly) separating right from wrong, A from B, facts from opinions, helpful thoughts from hidden agendas, etc.

Repeaters repeating the words of other Repeaters often end up in a ‘whispering game’ where the actual initial thought from a Thinker is lost or messed up along the way.

The lack of true understanding can even make the Repeaters’ claims end up in a complete jumbled mess where the ‘thought’ in one sentence is opposed already in the next (again unknowingly).

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s really hard to distinguish a Repeater from a Thinker. There are professional and clever Repeaters who have built their whole career in being experts at repeating other’s thoughts as their own and doing it really well.

For some nuance it’s hard to be a Thinker in every single domain but there are clearly severe drawbacks in being a Repeater within your main profession, both for yourself and for the actual Thinkers around you.

So, are you a Thinker or a Repeater? How about your manager? Your colleagues?

Crossposted @ LinkedIn

comments powered by Disqus