Who could have predicted that my excitement to help leaders solve their daily challenges would have brought me in contact with so many fascinating and intelligent decision makers? Over the years, I’ve been on a “mission” of sorts to ensure that leaders have the thinking tools they need to independently get the results they want, avoid unnecessary complications, and get out of the work-to-survive trap so that they can actually have time to live life! And I’m happy to say that together, we’re making progress in that direction. I would have to call this—my first book, Paid to THINK —a labor of love, because it’s taken 13 years to ensure that leaders like you finally have the toolkit you need in book form to do your job confidently and get the results you want more often.
My roots are in business ownership, nonprofits, and education. As the previous owner of several businesses early on in my career, I have known the pain of being hit every day with challenges and crises and the uncertainty that has come from making decisions and hoping for the best. In those early years before, during, and after getting my MBA, I, too, experienced firsthand the frustrations of wanting certain outcomes but lacking the right types of tools to make the most of my potential and that of my colleagues. About the age of 30, I knew that the educational gaps and struggles that I and fellow leaders experienced were needless and that there had to be a better way, and that’s when my curiosity became the driving force behind my career transition and the germination of my leadership approach, Enterprise Thinking.
By the time I had transitioned to consultative work and taking a place on the NYU faculty, I had already formulated the four-category framework and twelve activities of Enterprise Thinking. Not only was ET working to advance my own career by enabling me to achieve predictable, reliable results, but over the course of a dozen years or so, my consulting and speaking clients and my NYU students were making huge advancements in their organizations and careers as well. “I guess I’m onto something here,” was pretty much my cautiously-optimistic mantra.
Now, a couple of decades and thousands of “guinea pigs” later, Paid to THINK is finally the honed leadership toolkit you can count on to get you, your organization, and your life to your desired destinations. Of course, I know that each reader will have a unique personal experience with the book, and while some people will be perfectly happy with the contents of the book alone, others will yearn for more access and different formats to evolve as an Enterprise Thinker.
That’s why you will find different points of contact as you evolve and improve as a strategizer, learner, performer, and forecaster. Click around this website, take away what you need at this time, be sure come back and visit from time to time to see what’s new, and go to the forum and community to borrow ideas from like-minded leaders as you read how they’ve made Enterprise Thinking work for them. As always, I am striving to improve my ability to help you grow and develop, so feel free to reach out and share your thoughts.
A Message from Lorrie Goldsmith
My role in bringing Paid to THINK to you is that of conduit. For three years, this book has been my highest-priority project, and my hope is that David’s and my collaborative efforts have effectively converted his leadership approach to a book format in such a way that you can easily and successfully use it to build the kind of life that you’ve always wanted both professionally and personally. Having said that, I thought that sharing my experiences with Enterprise Thinking might give you a heads up on what you can expect as you make your own transition.
I’ve been a business owner for most of my adult career, but like many of the Paid to THINK readers, I do not have a business-school education. Upon graduating from college with a degree in advertising, I gratefully jumped on an opportunity to head the advertising division of a growing US company. Though I had previously held leadership positions in organizations, I gave no thought to the fact that my basic knowledge of the ad industry was an inadequate educational substitute for the challenges of leading and managing others. I was unprepared as a business leader, and it wasn’t until I was deep into the trenches of my job that I made the realization. Perhaps you can remember a time when you came to this terrifying conclusion about yourself, too.
Despite my private uncertainties, I was able to meet the expectations of my superiors and achieve targeted results, but those early years would have been much more fulfilling and less worrisome if I’d had an instrument like Enterprise Thinking (a leadership approach you’ll learn about in Paid to THINK) to remove self doubt from my decision-making processes. Certainly, it’s smart to question your options—“Is this new initiative going to give better returns than that one?”—but it’s exhausting to constantly question yourself.
As time passed, I became increasingly better at decision making, but from time to time, that nagging sense of “am-I-doing-this-right” would creep into my mind and keep me up nights. At the same time, I would notice that David (my business partner and significant other) seemingly had some natural gift for decision making by seeing factors that I and many of our colleagues did not, and he always had a way to come up with better answers than most people I had encountered. Yet, I couldn’t figure out how he did it until some years later, when he began to share with me the notes and diagrams he had been recording and revising—notes that were the budding roots of Enterprise Thinking’s activities and tools.
Like the majority of leaders I’ve met over the years, I did a decent job, but I was always looking for ways to improve performance. I read books, took courses, and tried to emulate the techniques and traits of high-performing leaders. Sometimes I liked what I learned and found some success with different techniques, but I never liked the disappointment that accompanied times when I couldn’t generate the results I wanted, and I didn’t like the idea that the various means of educating myself required a lot of effort without the guarantee that any of it would be worth my time: something already in short supply.
However, as Enterprise Thinking gelled into a more cohesive format, my experiences were surprisingly positive and the outcomes from it were paying off. I was also noticing that I was not alone in my successes. Testimonial letters from David’s speaking and consulting clients were overwhelmingly positive, as people shared their specific success stories as a result of learning what you will now find within the pages of Paid to THINK. These were people from around the globe who had different backgrounds, operated within different industries and sectors, and who worked at different management levels, yet it seemed that despite their outward differences, across the board Enterprise Thinking worked for them. I have also sat in on some of David’s NYU classes, and I have had the opportunity to watch people use Enterprise Thinking to drastically improve their performance and transform their personal and professional lives.
Now it’s your turn, and here’s what you can expect.
- First, you won’t be wasting your time if you invest in Paid to THINK, because it has been proven to deliver on its promise that you can achieve more, earn more, and live more by thousands of leaders worldwide.
- Second, the transformation is continual over years, although the payoff is as immediate as your ability to apply what you learn; in other words, like a fine wine, Enterprise Thinkers get better with age.
- Third, realize that even though we’ve designed and presented the activities and tools in their simplest form, the substance behind Enterprise Thinking is very complex and layered, meaning you can read Paid to THINK this year and process its contents in one way, and then read it years in the future and experience a plethora of new and surprising “aha” moments, because you will have grown and can now see even more depth and value than during your first go around.
- Fourth, you don’t have to read Paid to THINK all at once. Begin with the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2. This will give you a good foundation. Then, you can jump around to the other chapters as you see fit.
The final remark I want to make to you is that Paid to THINK is not a one-way learning experience. Surely, David is sharing his leadership model with you, but it’s you and leaders like you who constantly share your experiences, challenges, and success stories who make Enterprise Thinking better and who perpetually empower other Enterprise Thinkers within this networked movement. So, stay in touch. Join the community and forum, and tell us how you’re doing.