I don’t know about you, but I know that when I’m in the presence of someone who is renowned in his or her field, I hang on every word that person says. But part of my mind is also racing. I think that’s natural, and inevitable. While you want to pay rapt attention to everything that individual has to say, other thoughts begin to circle in your head. A brilliant mind often plants seeds of brilliance in the minds of those they come into contact with. And if you’re one of those lucky ones like me – and you don’t screw it up – you can come up with something really special.
That realization came to me during and after my recent interview with the great Charles Kepner. It had been a long-time goal of mine to sit with Chuck and listen to him tell stories about his life and his career, and especially to get his thoughts on critical and strategic thinking. Chuck is one of the most prominent figures ever in the field of decision-making and problem-solving. I was eager to savor every syllable that came out of his mouth.
But while I listened intently to what he had to say, my mind drifted a bit, albeit in a positive direction. I thought about all the people who have been influenced by Chuck over the years. I thought about the vast community of those trained by Chuck, all those Kepner-Fourie descendants who are out there applying their skills in a wide variety of important roles in business and government.
While Chuck spoke to me and my recorder took it all in, I began to ponder: Why aren’t all these people connected? If there is indeed strength in numbers, why aren’t all those Kepner believers united in one mighty family?
So I set out to create the Thinking Dimensions Association. Yes, technically it came out of my brain, but really, it came out of Chuck’s. I wouldn’t have thought of it if I hadn’t been sitting there marveling at the career and the accomplishments of this incredibly smart innovator.
What I’d like all of the Association members to do now is to imagine yourselves in a similar situation. Think back to the time when you were talking to Charles Kepner, or Matt Fourie, or someone else of prominence at Kepner-Fourie. Remember another time in your working life when you were in the presence of a Kepner follower or student and you heard something really brilliant.
Remember how your mind raced with possibilities, like mine did? I’d like you to gather up some of those thoughts and send them to me. I want to hear your stories. I want to see pictures. I want to receive your letters. I want anecdotes. I want anything in your personal experience that was created as the direct or indirect result of Charles Kepner.
I realize not everybody is as lucky as I was. Not everyone gets a sit-down with Charles Kepner. But I believe all Association members have had their minds shifted into a higher gear because of Chuck. I want to hear more about your journey from that point on.