Thinkers50 in 50 Seconds: Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson provides disruptively pithy thinking.

What book are you currently reading?

The Passion of Dolssa, a Young Adult novel, by Julie Berry

Do you describe yourself as a thinker?

Yes, but only in the last few years.  I needed to have a track record as a do-er before I could be a credible think-er.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Professionally? Clayton Christensen, hands down.  Brene Brown, a distance second.  For a list of books that have inspired me, click here.

What does success look like?

Paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, The ultimate result of all ambition is to be happy at home.

What is your next goal?

Yikes. I just published Disrupt Yourself a month ago, but ok, I’ll go with it–launch a podcast. When a dream is said aloud, it comes alive.

When did you last say ‘Eureka!’!?

As I was prepping for a webinar on identifying your distinctive strengths in early September, I was feeling overwhelmed. If can just sit in my office and connect with a few people via e-mail, I will again feel in control. It then occurred to me that when I feel in control, I also feel strong. So, identify the go-to-when-you-are-under-stress activity (non-self-sabotaging), and you’ll have also identified a strength.

Why is the Thinkers50 important to you?

It’s the Oscars of Management Thinking. Period. Exclamation point.

What is your competitive advantage?

I think, write, speak and live personal disruption.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Determined, introspective, kind

How do you keep your thinking fresh?

Whenever I write something, I ask therefore what?  I want to get to the point in what I am saying or thinking that the person reading says, “huh, I hadn’t thought of that.”

How do you divide your time?

Hmm. Which answer shall I – the workaholic – give you?  If I’m being honest, which I am: Work- 70%, Family 20%, Church – 10%.

How much time do you spend travelling?


What is the secret of a great presentation?

Connection not perfection.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Write – and publish what you write.

Share what you publish on social media.

You are doing this because you want to find your voice, and have something to say.

When you write, you find your voice.

When you publish, you figure out if you have something people want to hear.

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