Would you like to know what really goes on inside the heads of astoundingly successful leaders? Here is your chance. Part of the research for my book Absolutely Fabulous Organizational Change™ involved highly successful executives filling-out my Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ pre-employment test.
Each of the executives I tested had planned and implemented organizational change resulting in $10-million - $1-billion in profit improvement. They hail from America’s best-run companies, including IBM, VF Corporation, Intuit, Ritz-Carlton, Outback Steakhouse, Campbell Soup, Excell Global Services, Robert Mondavi Corporation, and more. In other words, you will discover what the best-of-the-best leaders at top-notch companies really are like.
Optimism Fuels the Leader’s Success
Pessimism never won any battle.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
My research revealed the fact that absolutely fabulous leaders are incredibly optimistic people. These leaders consistently scored high on the Forecaster™ test’s Optimism scale.
This prompts the question: What is an optimist?
In a book and audio-book I co-authored, “Spontaneous Optimism®: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness”, my co-author and I defined an optimist as someone who overwhelmingly
1. focuses on solutions, not problems
2. possesses a compelling vision for an exciting life
3. spends most of his or her time working on goals to achieve
5. takes total self-responsibility for personal successes and failures
For example, Leonardo Inghilleri, senior vice president at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, emphatically told me:
"Optimism is absolutely significant. I’m an optimist in life -- both my professional and personal life. You have to be positive. Nothing positive is created through negative thinking."
"Starting when I was a teenager, I always have had a personal mission statement to help me in my life. It helps me know where I’m going even when I am challenged."
Or, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.
-- Coco Chanel
Results on my Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ tests show that absolutely fabulous leaders are extremely creative. On the Forecaster™ tests, the leaders’ scores show a classic pattern for creative people: Specifically, they typically score both
+ low on the Following Rules scale
+ high on the Creativity Motivation scale
If you think about this, it makes perfect sense. After all, what is creativity? It is not always following all the rules, as shown in the leaders’ low score on the Forecaster™ test’s Following Rules scale.
But, that is not enough. On top of that, these leaders also feel strongly motivated or enthused to do creative work. This is evidenced in their high score on Creativity Motivation. When you combine creative thinking with motivation to actually do innovative work, you wind up with the
hallmarks of intensely creative people. Indeed, absolutely fabulous leaders certainly excel at conjuring up innovative, yet practical, solutions to propel their companies to vastly boost profits.
In fact, a chief reason for high-level success in business and in life is a person’s ability to continually create desirable opportunities. General Douglas MacArthur summed this up when he pointed out, “There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.”
To the dull mind, all of nature is leaden.
To the illuminated mind, the whole world sparkles with light.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Absolutely fabulous leaders usually are very, very smart people. This was verified in their scores on the Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ tests. Specifically, these amazing leaders scored amazingly high on the Forecaster™ test’s Problem-Solving scale. This scale measures a person’s general level of intelligence or overall brainpower. The successful leaders also scored high on three other Forecaster™ test scales of mental abilities, namely, Vocabulary, Arithmetic, and Grammar.
What does this mean for you?
For starters, if you are a bright person, use your brains! If you have average intelligence, then do everything you can to boost your brainpower.
Take advantage of this old saying, “Use it or lose it.” First, read books and articles to expand your mental horizons. Second, find absolutely fabulous leaders to be your role models. Carefully observe how they think through situations. Third, get the nutrition and rest you need to use your brain at its peak potential. Fourth, practice thinking through situations, and discuss your ideas with highly successful people who will help you sharpen your thinking. Overall, make sharp thinking into your habit.
What’s in Your Head?
Now, you have the opportunity to examine yourself. How do you stack up compared to incredibly accomplished leaders? What precisely is your own level of optimism, creativity, and intelligent thinking? By peeking into the heads of magnificent leaders, you can use them as your role models when you decide how to improve what is inside your head.
© Copyright 2006 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is America’s Hire the Best Expert™. Many companies use pre-employment tests he created -- “Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™” Tests – and his “7-Step Method to Hire the Best”™. Dr. Mercer authored 5 books, including, "Absolutely Fabulous Organizational Change™", "Hire the Best -- & Avoid the Rest™" and also "Turning Your Human Resources Department into a Profit Center™." You can (a) get a free subscription to his e-Newsletter at
or (b) call to talk with Dr. Mercer at (847) 382-0690