Erica Dhawan, champion of collaboration and connectional intelligence and our Thinker of the Month for September 2016, is short but never snappy in our quick fire interview.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading Chimananda Ngozi Adichie’s Half a Yellow Sun.
Do you describe yourself as a thinker?
Actually, I usually describe myself as a thinker + movement builder. I believe that one part of my impact is to develop original concepts as a thinker based on connecting the dots of old and new ideas, trends and world changes. The other part is to make those ideas practical for people and organizations so that they become actionable, scalable and sustainable.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is the musical performer Beyonce for her ability to take risks, work hard, use music to spread ideas, constantly reinvent and evolve herself.
What does success look like?
Success looks like having a laser focus on the things you care about most.
What is your next goal?
My vision is to make our Connectional Intelligence learning products become the “modern day Myers Briggs” reimagining how we assess personality styles and teams and our measurement tools become the “Net Promoter Score of Collaboration.” I am also committed to growing my consulting firm Cotential, which helps executives improve and measure the business value out of collaboration through data analytics, training and consulting.
What is your competitive advantage?
The world is ever changing. I believe that being more human–breaking the silo of ‘expert’ to ‘audience’ and being constatntly evolving is my greatest strength. I have spent my life focused not solely on generating and spreading ideas, but instead designing a community to enable many others to achieve the shared purpose of spreading Connectional Intelligence across the world.
How do you keep your thinking fresh?
I spend 25% of my time surrounding myself by new thinkers and doers to stay connected to the changes happening around the world.
How much time do you spend travelling?
About 2 cities a week – Delta or United are my second home :)
What is the secret of a great presentation?
Less of a presentation and more of a conversation.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Be willing to put in the hard work and persistence, don’t give up and publicly state your commitments and goals in the world.
Why is the Thinkers50 important to you?
Thinkers50 is the hub of the management thinking world — connecting and sharing with like minded thinkers is the key to any successful impact.