This month marks 29 years in business as a leadership development professional and the journey of PerformancePointe, Inc. While there are notable characteristics that define those I’ve served, there’s one with certainty that stands out above all others.
Having both the benefit and blessing of having worked with a sizeable sum of emotionally and cognitively intelligent leaders, might create a difficult choice. With all the experience and information contained in this universe, one might assume it’s intellect, knowledge, or experience. But it isn’t.
It’s bigger than the sum of all these. It’s WISDOM.
Wisdom can eat knowledge, experience and intellect for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week. It can even have innovation and creativity for dessert.
This one quality and attainable attribute is transcendent, because with wisdom comes the accompanying discernment to make solid decisions, navigate the complexity of relationships, and put things in proper perspective.
Let’s lean into what wisdom is, and what it isn’t.
In the psychological research arena, there are a few different theories about wisdom. A favorite is Robert Sternberg’s Theory of Wisdom. It defines wisdom as “using one’s intelligence, creativity, common sense, and knowledge” to balance what he’s identified as three life domains: Interpersonal, intra-personal and extra-personal. Wisdom becomes increasingly evident in the achievement of balance among our:
adaptation to current environments,
shaping of those environments, and,
choosing a new environment.
Does this sound like a familiar and coveted quality given the increasingly fast-paced, frenetic, and innovation-dependent environments we’ve had to summit to survive and learn to thrive in these past few years?
This balance Sternberg refers to requires that we juggle these three simultaneously. We’re adapting to the new requirements such as AI, customer shifts or other, integrating these into our infrastructure and/or outputs to shape and define our current market, while looking ahead for new ecosystems and environments.
This feat takes no shortage of wisdom, so I’ll say it again. It’s about “intelligence, creativity, common sense and knowledge.”
Here’s what we should know - researchers agree that wisdom isn’t a result of aging. This substantiates a commonly held belief there are a few wise souls out there trapped in younger bodies. The research also supports that higher IQ scores don’t translate into increased wisdom. However, current research shows the “optimal age to attain wisdom is about 60 years old,” according to a study by Compton & Hoffman.
In the days ahead, look for and embrace the “wisdom-keepers™.” Engage in the practices that continue to elevate not only your body of knowledge and data, but all the attributes that encompass wisdom. In addition to taking in new knowledge, test and apply it. Take the time to reflect on the outcome and lessons learned. Most importantly, ask for and seek wisdom daily.
For 29 years this month, I’ve had the honor of coaching and helping guide others. Every single day, before my big toe peeks out from the cover, I’m pleading for wisdom. If you’ve felt any bit of wisdom in our conversations, you should know it was both earned and given.
These simple steps will allow you to take the career and lifelong voyage with your team and organization needed to attain, capture, and share wisdom. At a time when we all need a guide, let it be wisdom.