In my life and work, I don't typically wait around for inspiration to strike - I make things happen out of habit and careful planning - but there have been a few thought leaders who have been incredibly influential for me and my career.
Alexander Osterwalder: As the co-founder of Strategyzer, Alexander caught my attention several years ago when I was looking for a better way to organize startup strategy. I was working on a few different projects and consulting many clients and we all faced the same problem: a business plan is not very helpful for a startup. He (with Steve Blank) pioneered the Business Model Template, which is a great alternative to the antiquated and often-outdated business plans of yore.
Steve Blank: An entrepreneurial giant, Steve is not only responsible for how I manage a lot of my ideas, but he was my instructor and unofficial mentor for several years. The first Udacity course I took of Steve's was about Entrepreneurship, and I've since taken three more courses of his.
Patrick Lencioni: As an author and consultant, Patrick caught my attention with his book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team." I was browsing my library, looking for something new to read and happened upon the book. I read it right away, then read it again. Within a few hours, I was buying every single book he ever wrote off Amazon. His storytelling about problems and solutions in the business world has shaped the way I work with my clients.
Dan Harris: Watching Dan's career for the past fifteen or so years, I was struck with how direct he could communicate and still be engaging. This became even more evident when I listened to the audiobook of 10% Happier. Dan taught me the importance of self-care and how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into my life. I've been excited to watch his podcast and startup of the same name grow over the past year.
Richard Branson: My appreciation for Richard started the first time I saw him on a magazine, grinning from ear to ear. I love his views on risk-taking and being fearless - I'm not, but I work toward it a little each day. He and I are kindred spirits, as we both started our career early in life and just love to work - but differently than what most people classify as "work."
Chris Voss: I recently found Chris' book "Never Split the Difference" in my library's online audiobooks and decided to give it a listen. Sales and negotiation have never felt like my strong suit, so I figured I could learn a thing or two from the former FBI hostage negotiator. I was right, and have listened to the audiobook three times in two months, plus have read every blog post and watched every video his consulting agency has put out.
Who influences you in your life and career?