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Why You Need A “thinking Partner”

We are always as good as those we surround ourselves.

What this means is simply that we get better because people around us would have either inspired us positively or we turned around the negative energy and set ourselves on fire to literary burn for what we believe in.

So today I would be your tour guide as to why you need a thinking partner and how to identify one

Most times as we climb the ladder of our Careers we lose our root or we finally discover we are not as deep rooted as we thought we are. If we are aware, we would notice. If we are not, people would spot it out for us and lucky is he who finds those like this “Truth tellers” however the overall beauty is when we finally take action or come up with a strategy to fill in the gap. With this in view we are on a journey to becoming positively lethal.

Most times we need someone to provide us with a rich perspective and give us an opportunity to reflect on privately. Especially in the midst of our bountiful nothingness or to put it mildly in the midst of our own hype.

I would try to cover some grounds here with emphasis on the difference between an “Adviser and a thinking partner” and why you need the professional service of the latter.

Back in the days the kings had a “think tank” which was made of egg heads. In some climes one of the reasons being that it doesn’t take just royal blood to lead people it requires more.

Alexandra the Great was a student of Aristotle way back from when he was a boy and if we say greatness lies in Alexandra it was the sum total of all the men around him with due credit to his brilliance.

As the world evolved and there was more to life than wars we had people chasing career paths and global leaders seeking the services of a new breed of egg heads known as “thinking Partners”  an example is the relationship between Clark Clifford and two different Presidents of the United states of America J.F Kennedy and Lyndon.B Johnson

“The relationship I had with each man (Kennedy and Johnson) was quite different. When Kennedy called on me it was usually to play a clearly defined role on a specific problem –from the after match of the bay of Pig to the still crisis. Johnson on the other hand wanted my advice or observation on almost anything that might confront him. Johnson asked me to participate in important national security meetings which otherwise involved only government officials. Something Kennedy never did. In these meetings, I would say little unless asked to comment by the President, and even then I shared my views only with him in private.

Clifford’s description captures the essential description between two important but different advisory roles. That of the adviser and that of the thinking Partner.

President Kennedy turned to Clinton more for advice calling upon him as an expert to engage primarily in expert thinking. Clifford proposed alternatives and solutions to Kennedy’s tough domestic and international political problems Seeking expertise including in international law, diplomacy, defense and issue of national security.

Johnson would ask Clifford to take advisory roles to read and research materials report on critical issues and help him to find specific alternatives and solutions to tough problems at other times Johnson could ask Clifford to think through issues with him looking for strength and weakness .Other times Johnson would ask Clifford to be an observer rather than a direct participant. With time Clifford became a reflective foil and sounding board. This is the role of the thinking Partner”

Culled from  The Third Opinion by Saj-nicole. A.Joni, PHD.

For President Johnson, Clifford’s job took a new dimension combining expert thinking with exponential thinking which made him ask insightful questions.

The two relationships give us insight into what is required for the two job description.

You need someone to challenge your initial assumptions and help you see the broader implications you obviously are blind to.

More Requirements

He  Must be a great listener

He  must be an expansive thinker

One who can help you see the third opinion.

The third opinion normally comes from someone who is not in your immediate inner circle but exposed to the happenings of the circle which normally gives him a non-emotional Point of view.

Why do you need one?

Exponential thinking and for massive results says it all. Like earlier stated they are not advisers neither are they coaches however their insights via diagnosis could lead you to a Coach.


Whenever I play the role of a third Opinion with no string attached my inner mojo goes alive because the clarity of listening to various minds brings to the table various perspectives we are blind to.


Do you need a thinking partner? Let’s get to work!

Charles Umeh is a management consultant and author of the African Millennial heads- up guide to thriving as a change maker in Africa entitled Breaking the Coconut (available on and over 38,000 on line stores globally) host of the popular Pod-cast #TheBTCshow which shines the spotlights beyond businesses on amazing Change-makers and entrepreneurs as they relieve their recipe for thriving in Africa.

Email:[email protected]

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